Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread, part 19, chapter 88-89

by Vaniver1 min read30th Jun 2013963 comments


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This is a new thread to discuss Eliezer Yudkowsky’s Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality and anything related to it. This thread is intended for discussing chapter 88-89The previous thread has passed 500 comments. 

There is now a site dedicated to the story at hpmor.com, which is now the place to go to find the authors notes and all sorts of other goodies. AdeleneDawner has kept an archive of Author’s Notes. (This goes up to the notes for chapter 76, and is now not updating. The authors notes from chapter 77 onwards are on hpmor.com.) 

The first 5 discussion threads are on the main page under the harry_potter tag.  Threads 6 and on (including this one) are in the discussion section using its separate tag system.  Also: 12345678910111213141516, 17, 18.

Spoiler Warning: this thread is full of spoilers. With few exceptions, spoilers for MOR and canon are fair game to post, without warning or rot13. More specifically:

You do not need to rot13 anything about HP:MoR or the original Harry Potter series unless you are posting insider information from Eliezer Yudkowsky which is not supposed to be publicly available (which includes public statements by Eliezer that have been retracted).

If there is evidence for X in MOR and/or canon then it’s fine to post about X without rot13, even if you also have heard privately from Eliezer that X is true. But you should not post that “Eliezer said X is true” unless you use rot13.

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Public Service Announcement: If you feel strongly affected by chapter 89, and do not yet have first aid training, consider googling a local class and signing up. Some sudden deaths can be prevented, and it might need to be by you. Make the most good out of your horror and revulsion.

5ChristianKl7yAs far as teachable lessons go, Harry didn't get first aid training for his first aid kid. If Eliezer wanted to maximize the amount of the impact of this lesson he could let a healer tell Harry that he didn't use the kit to maximum effect in an upcoming chapter.

First aid kit as curiosity stopper. Treating it as more a checkmark on a list of things responsible people have, and not an item that causally interacts with the world.

4sixes_and_sevens7yOne of the first things we got taught in first aid was "there's nothing in a first aid kit that can save a life". This probably needs a bunch of caveats to make it absolutely factually true, but it's worth generally bearing in mind. (My actual first aid kit includes a pair of trauma shears, which I think could save a life in a non-negligible amount of emergency circumstances.)

And thus, Hermione Jean Granger was permenantly sacrificed in a ritual which manifested Harry Potter.

6Alsadius7yClever, but I just can't bring myself to upvote it.
5Ritalin7yYou know, that is way funnier than it has any right to be.

This is a very powerful demonstration of how the sudden death of a single loved friend affects one more than the horrible, slow torture to death of a thousand strangers in Azkaban.

This applies to Harry - but I'm not talking about him. I'm talking about myself and all the readers now expressing their pain on reddit.

A single death is felt differently from a thousand deaths. At least in fiction...

Y'know, I like the new, true version of Ch. 85, the one where Harry fails to get a phoenix -- but I also really liked the original version (which, remember, Eliezer wrote as a stand-in because he couldn't get the true version finished in time), where Harry, compromising with himself, made a resolution that for now he would try to win without killing people -- but if anybody died [by his opponent's hands], not just a PC, but any arbitrary bystander (he'd been thinking about how Batman's ethics only come off as good if you don't care about all the NPCs the Joker kills), the gloves would come off.

I'd kind of hoped that Harry would be able to actually go through without a death, and failing that I kind of expected that it would be some random NPC's death that would change things -- but I don't think that would actually have worked to justify Harry's future actions to the reader. [ETA: I guess buybuydavis is right too that, even more importantly, it wouldn't have worked as a statement against death.] It really does need to be somebody we (the readers) care about in order to carry even a fraction of the emotional impact that death should carry.

(Tangent: As a preteen, I read 2001 up to th... (read more)

3buybuydandavis7yI don't think it works if what EY is making a statement against Death, which it seems to me he is. Rationality is all fine and dandy, but I think it's window dressing on the main theme of the value of Life and the horror of Death. The best, the brightest, the most loved, the least deserving of it will die with all the rest. So, Hermione dies.
3DanielLC7yThere was one thing that annoyed me about this. Harry wasn't just fighting Voldemort. He barely even cares about Voldemort. He's fighting everything bad about the universe. If he was truly willing to take the gloves off after the first death, then he would have done so after about half a second.
2Benya7yActually, this is the aftermath of the Taboo Tradeoffs arc (i.e., the Wizengamot trial): yes, Harry doesn't care about Voldemort, but he does have a very specific enemy at this point -- the person who tried to murder Draco and send Hermione to Azkaban (or at least the second, if it was Quirrell -- of course I expect it was Quirrellmort, but Harry only thinks of Quirrell as one of a range of different suspects). And by the time of Ch. 85, to Harry's knowledge, nobody has yet died in that particular war.
5Ritalin7yDepends on the circumstances. For example, if you're inflicting the deaths yourself; I read somewhere that the Nazis used gas chambers rather than the bullets they used at first, because killing unarmed, unresisting individuals of all ages and genders by the dozen disturbed the soldiers. Or when you don't know the people yourself, but their disappearance impacts and cripples your world.

Hermione's lips were moving, just a tiny bit but they were moving.

"your... fault..."

Time froze. Harry should have told her not to talk, to save her breath, only he couldn't unblock his lips.

Hermione drew in another breath, and her lips whispered, "Not your fault."

"Of course it was my fault. There's no one else here who could be responsible for anything."

"One of my classmates gets bitten by a horrible monster, and as I scrabble frantically in my mokeskin pouch for something that could help her, she looks at me sadly and with her last breath says, 'Why weren't you prepared?' And then she dies, and I know as her eyes close that she won't ever forgive me -"

7jefftk7y(http://hpmor.com/chapter/6 [http://hpmor.com/chapter/6])

Hermione's cheeks were going even redder. "You're really evil, did anyone ever tell you that?"

"Miss Granger," Professor Quirrell said gravely, "it can be dangerous to give people compliments like that when they have not been truly earned. The recipient might feel bashful and undeserving and want to do something worthy of your praise.

When I first read the end of the chapter, my thought was that Quirrell hadn't arranged the incident; he had thought it was a "surprisingly good day" which suggested to me that he hadn't expected the troll.

After reading comments, I became less sure about that; someone suggested that Quirrell might have simply not intended for Harry to be at the scene and in danger. This seems plausible, but one thing still makes it difficult for me to believe it was Quirrell.

The troll had been enchanted against sunlight:

someone had enchanted the troll against sunlight before using it as a murder weapon and might also have strengthened it in other ways.

And Harry transfigured part of the troll:

Harry visualized a one-millimeter-wide cross-section through the enemy's brain, and Transfigured it into sulfuric acid.

But before, it was stated that Quirrell could not charm something that Harry had Transfigured:

Professor Quirrell could not cast spells on something Harry had Transfigured, for that would be an interaction, however slight, between their magics, but -

For Quirrell to have been behind this, I can see only two possibilities: 1) Harry can transfigure something Professor Quirrell ... (read more)

Harry transfigured the inside of the troll. Maybe Quirrell only needed to enchant the outside?

2maia7yOh snap. I didn't even notice that problem. There is a third possibility: Dumbledore brought in the troll to guard the Stone (or other object), as in canon, and he was the one who cast the spells to protect it. I'm unsure about this, because it seems unusually violent for Dumbledore.
3Izeinwinter7yIn canon "Troll" was defense layer number.. 5? Anyone in that deep can fairly be considered to be asking for it. If this is the case, the naive reading of events is that it got loose because someone was cracking the defenses...
2ygert7yIn canon, there were two different trolls: One that got in and attacked Hermione, and one that was guarding the stone. Two totally different trolls, although many have noted that both were supplied by Quirrell. (And actually, because of this it has become fanon that Quirrell has a talent in dealing with trolls. (Although that Quirrell is a very different person from HPMOR's Hansonian Quirrell, so don't read to much into this with regards to HPMOR.))
5Desrtopa7yI believe that Quirrell actually stated this in canon. When he admitted in the chamber which held the Philosopher's Stone that he was the one who had supplied the troll for the defenses, he said he had a knack for dealing with them, or something to that effect.
2vericrat7yWhy would Dumbledore enchant the troll against sunlight if it was going to be in the third-floor corridor all along?

To defend it against anyone with a sunlight-generating spell or who has some acorn potion handy.

I'm sad now.

Those of you who didn't read canon before reading this, there's a corresponding incident in the first book which I think would add to your understanding of this incident. Quirrell sneaks a troll into the school, but Harry, Ron, and Hermione are improbably able to defeat it using the first thing the Weasleys try here (smacking it with its own club). The difficulty level of that encounter was clearly calibrated to the characters' strengths in a way common in heroic stories and I think Eliezer was deliberately subverting that expectation. (He's made this point in the sequences on a few occasions - something about how it's allowed for Nature to just throw problems at humanity that are too hard for it - although I can't find a quote at the moment.) I particularly appreciated how Harry only used tools that he had deliberately prepared in advance, sometimes way in advance, e.g. the healer's kit.

I also wonder where Fawkes was while this was happening. You'd think he would've found his way to either Harry or Hermione.

I have a mild complaint about all these cameos. Some of the names of the people who end up getting cameos don't fit in the Harry Potter universe to my ear and they stick out really noticeably. One of the first things I'd do if I were hypothetically rewriting HPMoR for publication is to come up with a consistent and meaningful naming scheme.

7taelor7yI think it's ironic that at the begining of the update, Harry refers to Filch as a "low-level random encounter whom [he] often breezed past wearing his epic-level Deathly Hallow".
3CAE_Jones7yI haven't read much Hary Potter fanfiction, but what I have, including HPMoR, tends to up the difficulty considerably, and makes this apparent by having the characters use the same trick that Ron knocked out the canon troll with to little or no effect. (In this case, Eliezer made it clear in Quirrel's first class that that trick would be dreadfully unlikely to work.) Is this a trend in HP fanfiction (in which case, it seems to fall into the class of "taking HP fanfiction tropes and doing them better" that Eliezer's been following)? Or is my sample size too small?

I predict that it will be revealed that Quirrell or a closely related entity has been abusing Harry on and off throughout his life, to try and make him into a Dark Lord.

He can go to Harry's house like the time he played Father Christmas.

Obliviated memories leave residue, which is how in Chapter 88 the twins remembered that they could find people, in the castle, but couldn't remember how.

In the first chapter, Harry noticed that he believed in magic.

some part of Harry was utterly convinced that magic was real

In chapter 16, Harry is almost reminded of something when he looks at Quirell, but can't remember what. And when Quirrell is first introduced, Harry ominously recognizes him

"Professor?" Harry said, once they were in the courtyard. He had meant to ask what was going on, but oddly found himself asking an entirely different question instead. "Who was that pale man, by the corner? The man with the twitching eye?"

"Hm?" said Professor McGonagall, sounding a bit surprised; perhaps she hadn't expected that question either. "That was Professor Quirinus Quirrell. He'll be teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts this year at Hogwarts."


... (read more)

My interpretation is that all of these are symptoms of Harry's dark side (which is the backup copy / horcrux of Voldemort somewhere in him).

There was a time turner involved, and that's why his sleep cycle is off.

This is an intriguing hypothesis, but are you aware that Eliezer also has this condition? I was under the impression that he was working off of his own experiences here and nothing more.

I think the simpler "conscious Horcrux inside Harry" theories are ruled out by the sorting hat: "I can tell you that there is definitely nothing like a ghost - mind, intelligence, memory, personality, or feelings - in your scar. Otherwise it would be participating in this conversation, being under my brim."

It is possible that the original, canon Harry has been completely replaced by Voldemort, or that the Horcrux has merged with Harry to form a new single personality. The sorting hat is also explicit that it does not remember previous students such as Tom Riddle as individuals. Therefore it would not notice if HJPEV were in fact Tom Riddle redux. However there's just one person in Harry, not two.

2robryk7yThe hat talked specifically about objects under its brim. Maybe the horcrux is in some other part of Harry?
3loserthree7yI probably heard that at some point; it's been years since this started, now. But I expect better of him than "I get ingrown toenails and ingrown toenails don't get enough attention from the public so I'm going to give my protagonist that problem, too." Also, cannon Harry didn't have the sleep cycle problem. For the most part, there are in-universe reasons for departures from cannon other than, "That was dumb and I'm not writing a story with dumb in it."
9Skeeve7yI don't know about this, for a couple of reasons. 1) If there was a time turner involved, why do the issues with Harry's sleep schedule persist even after he gets to Hogwarts and gains a time-turner of his own? 2) If someone spent a two-hour period of time abusing Harry and then time-turnering it away every day, wouldn't he get tired two hours early nstead of two hours late? That is to say, wouldn't his sleep cycle appear to be 22 hours instead of 26?
4loserthree7yFor the same reason his response persist even when the abuse no longer does: he's been conditioned. It goes the other way. See, while he was being abused for two hours a day that no one else experienced, he was experiencing 26 hour days when everyone else was experiencing 24 hour days. So his body adjusted to that.
8roystgnr7yThis is good evidence right up until you destroy your own case: "Quirrell expected Harry to become a Dark Lord when he spoke with him after the first class and was surprised that Harry aspired to science." Surprise that Harry aspired to science is not what someone who had been regularly communicating with Harry for a decade would experience. On the other hand, you're firing with some fully automatic plot-armor-piercing bullets, there. Quirrell's primary motivation is clearly to groom Harry for some future, so if he waited to start doing so until Harry entered Hogwarts, why did he wait? My favorite theory (Harry is an amnesiac transfer of Voldemort, Quirrelmort is just a horcrux) is only slightly better here. In this case Quirrelmort wouldn't anticipate how much a happy childhood might change Voldemort's personality and wouldn't see the need to remold himself until after that first encounter. That still doesn't explain why he wouldn't even check in on himself for a decade. It took that long for the "mort" part of Quirrelmort to take full control? Or maybe after taking control Quirrelmort knows he only has a year's worth of activity before decaying away, so he chose to save it when he would have extended contact with Harrymort and the latter would be studying magic?
4buybuydandavis7ySo that Harry would have started to use magic, and could be seen to defeat Voldemort in combat, instead of just be part of some freakish accident that killed Voldemort. Harry "defeats" Voldemort while Voldemort downloads into Harry, transforming himself from Villain to Savior and living happily ever after.
3Ben Pace7yFridge Horror. [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FridgeHorror]
2GuySrinivasan7yDon't forget (emphasis added)
2buybuydandavis7yI don't think so. He's not supposed to use magic on Harry, and his attempts to influence him through their link fail as well.
4loserthree7yHis inability to influence Harry through the link does not reflect an inability to influence him at all. His influencing the everloving fuck out of Harry in Defense Class. The part where he can't use magic on Harry is more of a poked hole in this theory, though. I can answer it, of course, but not without raising more questions. I'll think about that one.

This is interesting. From the end of Ch. 89:

Unseen by anyone, the Defense Professor's lips curved up in a thin smile. Despite its little ups and downs, on the whole this had been a surprisingly good day

From Ch. 46, after Harry destroys the dementor:

I must admit, Mr. Potter, that although it has had its ups and downs, on the whole, this has been a surprisingly good day.

Every day that Harry kills something is a good day, of course.

Without endorsing any part of this comment dealing with events which have yet to take place, I congratulate user 75th who receives many Bayes points for this:


Hermione is dead. Hermione Granger is doomed to die horribly. Hermione Granger will very soon die, and die horribly, dramatically, grotesquely, and utterly.

Fare thee well, Hermione Jean Granger. You escaped death once, at a cost of twice and a half your hero's capital. There is nothing remaining. There is no escape. You were saved once, by the will of your hero and the will of your enemy. You were offered a final escape, but like the heroine you are, you refused. Now only death awaits you. No savior hath the savior, least of all you. You will die horribly, and Harry Potter will watch, and Harry Potter will crack open and fall apart and explode, but even he in all his desperation and fury will not be able to save you. You are the cord binding Harry Potter to the Light, and you will be cut, and your blood, spilled by the hand of your enemy, will usher in Hell on Earth, rendered by the hand of your hero.

Goodbye, Hermione. May the peace and goodness you

... (read more)

Or alternately, somewhere in the literally thousands and thousands of predictions or claims (I have ~200 in just my personal collection which is nowhere comprehensive) spread across the 20k MoR reviews on FF.net, the >5k comments on LW, the 3650 subscribers of the MoR subreddit, the TvTropes discussions etc etc, someone got something right.

You know perfectly well that one does not get to preach about a single right prediction. He had the opportunity to make more than that prediction, and he failed to take it.

[-][anonymous]7y 33

He also predicted that Hat and Cloak was Quirrell, Santa Claus was Dumbledore, and S. was Snape. He considered these predictions blatantly obvious as well. I remember receiving ~13 upvotes for arguing that Quirrell could be ruled out as H&C, so it wasn't as obvious to all of us.

7gwern7yAll of which were consensus beliefs; do not make the mistake of interpreting upvotes as object-level agreement - you may have received the upvotes for making the anti-Quirrel case well or bringing up some bit that people hadn't remembered or just being funny.

It's a large space, not a binary yes-or-no, so successful predictions are impressive even given a large base. Also I could be prejudiced but MoR is supposed to be solvable god damn it.

Someone was criticized. S/he was right, the critics were wrong. The neural net updating algorithm calls for a nudge in the appropriate direction of "Beware of dismissing those who speak with what you think is too much confidence."

3elharo7yI update in favor of "user 75th is more experienced in the tropes of enigma fiction." Indeed I would not be at all surprised were I to discover that user 75th writes such fiction him or herself. It similarly wouldn't surprise me if user 75th had gone to the library and checked out and read some of the same 15 books Elizier checked out and read before writing HPMoR. For example, before reading the author's notes on HPMoR I was not familiar with Chekhov's Gun. Now that I am, I am much more likely to catch such a device when it appears in other fiction. I now suspect user 75th is quite familiar with Chekhov's Gun and other standard tricks of this sort of story. 75th picked up on one such trope (one I'm still not familiar with) that signaled that Hermione was heading for death. If there's a general update to be had here, it may go something like this: Before dismissing those who speak with what I think is too much confidence, I need to consider the possibility that their confidence is based on facts or experience I am not aware of. I should probably take five minutes to ask them why they are so confident before dismissing them.

Ha, you've got me all wrong. I am woefully under-read, particularly in fiction. I get a very small percentage of the references Eliezer makes in Methods; most of the time, I find out that he's borrowed something months (or, let's face it, years) after I read it, only by seeing someone else explicitly point out the reference. I have had my life ruined by TV Tropes, but most of what I'm familiar with there is video games, and not too awfully many of those.

But it's not a matter of picking up on specific tropes, exactly. It's more a matter of getting into the author's head. Of constantly asking "If this were foreshadowing or a setup or a clue, what would be the most effective payoff?" I read Chapter 84, and then, put together with many other quotes from my many rereads of HPMoR ("Nothing really bad ever happens at Hogwarts", "Her life was officially over", etc.), I answered that question with "Hermione will die horribly," then posted how I felt about it.

It's the same deal with my prediction — which I'm far more certain of than I was that Hermione would die horribly — that Nzryvn Obarf xvyyrq Anepvffn Znysbl. I got into an argument with someone o... (read more)

2Alsadius7yRe the rot13 bit, I called it that Qhzoyrqber xvyyrq ure based on text evidence before that was revealed, so the idea that it's Obarf has always seemed wrong to me. They can't both have done it, you know?

Arf, didn't mean to start this again, but here's my usual litany:

Gur bayl rivqrapr jr unir gung Qhzoyrqber xvyyrq Anepvffn vf gung Yhpvhf fnlf Qhzoyrqber gbyq uvz fb. Jr qba'g xabj gur rknpg jbeqf Qhzoyrqber hfrq, naq oheavat fbzrbar nyvir ernyyl qbrfa'g frrz yvxr Qhzoyrqber'f fglyr (nygubhtu V jvyy fnl gung Puncgre 89 vf gur svefg gvzr V'ir gubhtug gur Qhzoyrqber-vf-rivy pebjq zvtug npghnyyl unir fbzrguvat fhofgnagvir gb jbex jvgu). Zrnajuvyr:

  1. Nzryvn'f qrsnhyg gubhtug jura eriratr pbzrf gb zvaq vf "Fbzrbar jbhyq ohea sbe guvf."
  2. Anepvffn'f fvfgre xvyyrq Nzryvn'f oebgure.
  3. Nzryvn vf gur bar jub fcrnxf hc va gur Jvmratnzbg, gryyvat Qhzoyrqber "Qba'g rira guvax nobhg vg" jura Qhzoyrqber pbafvqref pbasrffvat gb Anepvffn'f zheqre.

Jura V bayl xarj nobhg #1, V jebgr vg bss nf n cbffvoyr pbvapvqrapr. Ohg gura crqnagreevsvp cbvagrq bhg #2 gb zr, naq V fgebatyl hctenqrq gur ulcbgurfvf'f cebonovyvgl. Gura yngre #3 unccrarq, naq V orpnzr nf pregnva nf V nz abj.

And if that's not as close as you can actually come to a Bayesian updating process when reading a fiction book, where the only experiment you can perform is "Wait for more chapters and then read them", I would love to learn what's legitimately closer.

2gwern7yNo, it doesn't, not out of thousands of predictions of which you selected one post hoc. If I may quote you, our minds do not run on floating point beliefs.

He had the opportunity to make more than that prediction, and he failed to take it.

I totally get the point of the rest of your comment, but not this sentence. A correct prediction is meaningless because it wasn't accompanied by another correct prediction?

I'm not trying to toot my own horn here; I've gotten things wrong too, and my original comment in question here was much more about expressing my despair at Chapter 84 than trying to register a prediction for later credit. But I don't see how I had any particular "opportunity to make more than that prediction" that I failed to take, beyond the fact that anyone can make any prediction they feel like any time they feel like it.

A correct prediction is meaningless because it wasn't accompanied by another correct prediction?

More or less. Think of it in terms of selection bias: a bunch of people enter a lottery of some sort. After the lottery concludes, the lottery organizer Yliezer Eudkowsky praises the winner, entrant #57, for their deep insights into lotteries and how to guess the winning number and admonishes everyone who told #57 to not get his hopes up. Do we now credit #57 for wisdom and study his numerology? No, not really.

Now, if #57 had simultaneously entered 5 other lotteries and won 3 of them, then we would start wondering what #57's edge is and preorder #57's upcoming book Secrets of the RNG Illuminati. Or even if he had won none of those other lotteries and simply gotten 3 near-misses (5 out of 6 digits right, for example), that would still serve as replication of above-average predictive accuracy and not mere selection effects, and persuade us that something was going on there beyond randomness+post-hoc-selection.

3Vaniver7yMm. I think there's wisdom in the approach of only making public predictions when you're very confident in them, and that may have been the only thing 75th was that confident in. (This isn't a very good approach for calibrating your brain's sense of uncertainty, but it has other benefits.)
2ChristianKl7yYou can always make public predictions with the confidence that you have on prediction book.
9ITakeBets7yI am breaking my "only comment on LW if you expect some benefit" rule because I am in a somewhat unique position to comment on this, and I agree with Eliezer that "penalizing people for sounding certain or uppity or above-the-status-you-assign-them can potentially lead you to ignore people who are actually competent". See, I made this update at an earlier time under not-dissimilar circumstances [http://lesswrong.com/lw/axe/harry_potter_and_the_methods_of_rationality/63sf]. (In short, I thought ArisKatsaris was making an overconfident prediction about HPMoR, bet against him, and lost.) An excerpt from my journal, 3/28/2012: So, you know, here's a chance to learn a $30 lesson for free, people.
5ChrisHallquist7yI went to check on the original comment, saw that I had downvoted it, and now I am embarrassed.
4LucasSloan7yWell, in the spirit of sticking your neck out: Harry was sorted into Slytherin. Dumbledore created Harry to be the ideal literary hero. Lord Voldemort doesn't want to conquer the world. Dumbledore is working on way more advance information than everyone else.

Counter-evidence: Harry produces blue and bronze sparks at Ollivander's.

As long as we're sticking necks out, though:

  • Definitely: The horcrux technology uses the ghost phenomenon. Specifically, by causing the violent death of a wizard under controlled conditions (i.e., murder) it's possible to harness the powerful burst of magic to make a ghost of the living caster instead of of the dying victim: a backup copy. A ghost may be static data rather than a running instance, but hey, so is a cryo patient.

  • Definitely: Baby Harry was overwritten with a horcrux-backup-copy of Voldemort. Voldemort didn't plan on childhood amnesia, though, and much of the information was erased (or at least made harder to access consciously). The Remembrall-like-the-Sun indicated the forgotten lifetime as Riddle. Remnants of Voldemort's memories are the reason Harrymort has a cold side; his upbringing in a loving family is the reason he has a warm side.

  • Mere hunch: In chapter 45, the Dementor recognized Harry as Voldemort and addressed him by name: "Riddle".

  • Mere hunch: Voldemort may have chosen to impress his horcrux in a living human in order to try to get around the "static data" pro

... (read more)
6Qiaochu_Yuan7ySome of the horcruxes in canon are made from murdering Muggles, though. I don't see anywhere that this happens in Chapter 45.
5monsterzero7yVery early in the chapter: "He had regained an impossible memory, for all that the Dementor had made him desecrate it. A strange word kept echoing in his mind." And later: "Harry glanced in the Dementor's direction. The word echoed in his mind again. All right, Harry thought to himself, if the Dementor is a riddle, what is the answer? And just like that, it was obvious." Once Harry figures out what Dementors are, he stops being able to hear their "voices", because he no longer sees (hears) them as sentient. But if "the word" was actually coming from the Dementor, I don't know what would've kept everyone else from hearing it.
[-][anonymous]7y 20

I think I've identified three techniques Eliezer uses to create associations in the readers' minds and promote ideas to their attention.

There's repetition. If you're sensitive to repetition then the repetition will drive you mad. Five false prophets, many uses of Grindelwald's name, and about a zillion instances of the phrase 'the old wizard'. Dumbledore is old, old, old.

There's placing two related ideas side by side. Like Harry wondering how magic could possibly work, then segueing into an 'analogy' to artificial intelligence. (Repeatedly, so it's a twofer.) Or the description of phoenix travel appearing in the same chapter as Harry confronting Dumbledore over Narcissa's death.

And there's the throwaway gag that contains the literal truth. "It's not like I'm an imperfect copy of someone else." "Let me know after it turns out that it was Professor Quirrell who did it."

And, perhaps, "And if you coincidentally crack the secret of immortality along the way, we'll just call it a bonus."

After Chapter 87, I thought it likely that Hermione's primary contribution to the story would be to rediscover the Philosopher's Stone through the application of the scientif... (read more)

The Headmaster can feel when a student dies in Hogwarts. That's how he showed up the moment Hermione died.

But the Headmaster can also feel when a creature unknown to Hogwarts is in Hogwarts. That's how he showed up when Harry rejected his phoenix.

But so why didn't Dumbledore feel the troll and intercept it much sooner? I expect before long the Dumbledore-haters — both those in the story and those on Less Wrong and Reddit — will latch on to this as proof that Dumbledore has been evil all along.

The problem is, we know a thing or two about Hogwarts's wards by now. We know, for instance, that Salazar Slytherin was the one who wove them:

or by some entity which Salazar Slytherin keyed into his wards at a higher level than the Headmaster himself.

Salazar Slytherin's wards. Salazar Slytherin, who left a basilisk that knew all his secrets. Secrets that Quirrellmort now knows.

Dumbledore will try to tell the wizarding world that the only explanation of Hermione's death is that Voldemort was behind the attack. This will be seen by the world as the same thing Headmaster Dippet actually did when Myrtle died: the accusation of an unlikely — "preposterous!" — scapegoat.

And now, Lucius... (read more)

8buybuydandavis7yLucius is going to be outraged and lead an opposition to Dumbledore because the attempted murderer of his son, who he tried to send to Azkaban for 10 years, got killed in Hogwarts? I think that would seem a bit odd to everyone involved. Lucius has means of his own, and had every reason to arrange Hermione's death.
2ygert7yNo, Lucius is going to stir up an opposition to Dumbledore because Dumbledore is his hated enemy. Do you honestly think that Lucius would pass by any excuse to harm Dumbledore? (And he will have a easy time at it too. A troll loose in Hogwarts, killing a student? That will reflect extremely badly on Dumbledore, even from the viewpoint of the neutral factions.)
4Intrism7yThe Headmaster was off campus; it's not necessarily true that he can access all the Hogwarts wards from off campus. He did notice when Hermione died, but considering the giant soulsplosion it's likely that this was somewhat more obvious to him than a wards violation. Furthermore, considering the timing of his absences, it's likely that Dumbledore was off hunting Horcruxes - an excellent opportunity, therefore, for Quirrell to lure Dumbledore into a trap to induce magical radio silence. Politically speaking, it makes no sense for Dumbledore to kill Hermione. Even the Daily Prophet would have a hard time spinning that particular story. The Wizengamot's response to the death of Draco Malfoy's supposed assassin and Lucius Malfoy's hated enemy will not, no matter the circumstances, be to flock to Lucius' side. It would, however, still reflect very badly on Dumbledore; obviously, mountain trolls should not show up in schools, and the responsibility for preventing such things lies with him.
775th7yI think you're being generous to the wizarding public. Lucius Malfoy can probably prove — the Hogwarts wards can possibly prove — that neither Lucius nor Draco has been in Hogwarts for quite some time. It won't be too hard for Lucius to say the better-written equivalent of "Regardless of my personal feelings for Miss Granger, I would never besmirch House Malfoy by reneging in such brutal fashion on a matter of House honor. The question at hand is this: how could Dumbledore not have known the troll was in Hogwarts? And if he did know, where was he during the attack? If you would like to propose that Dumbledore and I were in collusion on the matter — well, I'm sure a simple show of hands will make clear how likely this assembly is to believe that." Not too hard for Lucius to talk his way out of. Very much harder for Dumbledore. EDIT: I agree that not all of Hogwarts's wards are necessarily available to Dumbledore off-campus. But the mechanisms of these two wards have been described identically: Poof, he appears, and says "I felt X". I wouldn't assume by default that two wards that function identically would differ in such an important aspect. DOUBLE EDIT: It could easily be said that it makes political sense for Dumbledore to kill Hermione, as an attempt to frame Lucius. But then, if Dumbledore doesn't actually speak up against Lucius… It is complicated. But I still think Dumbledore is in trouble, just from the perspective of Eliezer taking a more serious, realistic look at events from canon.
3Intrism7yHonestly, I think you're the one overestimating the Wizarding public. The arguments from the wards aren't bad ones, necessarily, but they're technical ones. They won't play well. At best, they'll turn into conspiracy theories. Most of the public is going to look at the scene and see Lucius triumphant and Dumbledore with a black eye, and make the obvious conclusion. It will still be basically the same in front of the Wizengamot. Having Hermione killed under his own protection means trouble for Dumbledore - it would be the second major security incident at Hogwarts in less than a month, and the first student killed in fifty years. It's not an impossible black eye for Dumbledore to overcome, and he could surely take it if necessary. But... Dumbledore doesn't have a compelling reason to take the hit. Framing Lucius is not an especially good motive, particularly considering that half of the Wizengamot cares not one whit about Hermione Granger's life or death. And, if he did want her dead, he could have avoided the fallout by sending her home over Spring Break with a snake in her trunk. The technical argument... is still a bit above the Wizengamot. They might understand, "well, because of the wards this should have been impossible," but this will translate to "Lucius Malfoy found a way to trick Dumbledore's magic" and not "Hmm. Should Lucius Malfoy and his hired help really be in the same weight class as the Founders' wards?" Finally, you're assuming that Lucius wants to clear his name. I don't think this makes very much sense, either. Sure, it's bad PR in many circles, but Lucius already has a horrible reputation, and I don't expect he'll be terribly concerned. On the other hand, killing a student right under Dumbledore's nose would be an excellent show of force, and it would impress people that he cares rather more about. It might be exactly what he needs, in fact - I imagine his credibility took quite a hit when Hermione Granger managed to escape punishment for an
2maia7yIn canon, the troll was in Hogwarts already, because Dumbledore brought it in to guard the Sorcerer's Stone. If he did something similar in Methods!canon, then Quirrell could easily have taken advantage of this to escape notice by the wards.
2ygert7yNo. In canon, there were two trolls. Everyone seems to forget this. But then again, in canon Hogwarts was never described as having the same kind of comprehensive ward system it has in HPMOR.

From Chapter 6:

Harry was examining the wizarding equivalent of a first-aid kit, the Emergency Healing Pack Plus. There were two self-tightening tourniquets. A Stabilisation Potion, which would slow blood loss and prevent shock. A syringe of what looked like liquid fire, which was supposed to drastically slow circulation in a treated area while maintaining oxygenation of the blood for up to three minutes, if you needed to prevent a poison from spreading through the body. White cloth that could be wrapped over a part of the body to temporarily numb pain. Plus any number of other items that Harry totally failed to comprehend, like the "Dementor Exposure Treatment", which looked and smelled like ordinary chocolate. Or the "Bafflesnaffle Counter", which looked like a small quivering egg and carried a placard showing how to jam it up someone's nostril.

From Chapter 89:

"Fuego!" / "Incendio!" Harry heard, but he wasn't looking, he was reaching for the syringe of glowing orange liquid that was the oxygenating potion, pushing it into Hermione's neck at what Harry hoped was the carotid artery, to keep her brain alive even if her lungs or heart sto

... (read more)
6thakil7yHuh, reading that quote again it occurs to me that Harry doesn't reach for the oxygenating potion, he reaches for the syringe of glowing orange liquid that was the oxygenating potion. A truly prepared murderer would merely have to replace the syringe with... something else.
4William_Quixote7yMan, that's brutal

A nice touch when Harry is fighting the troll: When he engages his killer instinct, from then on the troll is only referred to as the "enemy", in one case even with a capital E.

Interestingly, while Harry explicitly mentions "censors off" (concerning no more screening off of potential killing methods), that mode of thinking also engages other filters, dehumanizing (de-troll-izing) the creature he's fighting and only seeing it as "the Enemy".

4pedanterrific7yAnother nice touch: Quirrell's thoughts do the same.
2DiscyD3rp7yMy explicit hope is that Harry is doing that intentionally, after carefully determining whether the troll needs to die or not. For (what I think is) the purpose of increasing his chance of success. He seems exactly the kind of guy who'd temporarily manipulate and self-decieve himself for high instrumental utility, and has demonstrated the ability in the past (with the Dementors in TSPE). The main competing hypothesis is rationalizations from an influential Dark Side, which seems less likely. (~10%)
3fractalman7yHe'd already thought "action.run: twins get eaten". so...yeah.

What happened to Hermione was shocking and has nearly monopolized the posts in this thread so far.

There's aftermath coming, though, and I'd like to talk about that. Harry is probably in a lot of trouble. Here's a short list of rules violations:

  • He left the Great Hall when specifically warned that doing so would result in expulsion and when he's not allowed to be expelled.
  • He inspired other students to take up arms against their teachers, or their groundskeeper, or against their teachers by way of their teachers' groundskeeper, or something. It probably got even worse after he left.
  • He endangered other students, the twins, even before confronting the troll by way of unsafe broom usage. Point three see, and all that.
  • He revealed his super-secret patronus that Dumbledore told him to keep secret, a super secret.
  • He may have damaged His Father's Rock.
  • He transfigured something that burns, specifically so that it would do so.
  • He has committed himself to a course of action fundamentally at odds with participating in society in any reasonable fashion.

The transfiguration is probably the worst on the list, really. If Harry is lucid at the end of this chapter I expect there will be so... (read more)

I actually expected Harry to cast the Killing Curse as a last ditch desperation/rage effort. He knew what it does, has seen the wand movements and pronounciation (in the Dementor dream), knew and had the required state of mind. That should be enough to cast it, as per Ch26 ("He is in his sixth year at Hogwarts and he cast a high-level Dark curse without knowing what it did.").

5BlackNoise7yHarry may have had the mood, but there's doubt about the Power, and there's also been multiple foreshadows of how broken low-level spells are, and a recent mention that he's he can't stop himself from noticing them. Hence "censors off".

Or has Dumbledore found it so useful to carry a large rock around that "get a big rock, keep it with you at all times" is in the top five things he'd tell his younger self if he ever got the chance? Seriously -- the fuck?

The obvious interpretation of this is that spellcasting is a skill like any other, and practice develops it. By giving Harry an implausibly large object to carry, and then having him interact with the Transfiguration professor, Dumbledore can be fairly confident that Harry will try to transfigure the rock into something more reasonable to have in constant physical contact with him. This constant transfiguration practice will help Harry level up his abilities, and a huge rock is predictably useful in combat situations.

Here's a short list of rules violations:

He also showed off his unique partial transfiguration trick during combat, which Dumbledore was hoping he would save for the Final Battle.

He revealed his super-secret patronus that Dumbledore told him to keep secret, a super secret.

Not that it were very important, but actually Harry told Dumbledore to keep the patronus secret, not the other way around.

Also, merely seeing the Patronus isn't the problem. Understanding it is.

2Fhyve7yAnd knowing what it can do - killing a dementor, which they didn't see, though someone might be able to figure out that his super patronus is the reason why dementors are afraid of him.
2ikrase7yActually, even knowing what it can do doesn't break the mundane patronus.

He threw the troll's head over the wall, so its well away from anyone who could breathe in the gases, and a simple bubble-head charm should solve the problem. Given that the alternative was being eaten, he won't be punished for it (also, the most important thing is keeping partial transfiguration secret - other students would be told that Dumbledore killed the troll).

The twins were going to try to rescue Hermione anyway.

The twins will probably agree to keep the patronus secret.

While Harry and the twins did break a rule which was said to result in expulsion, they did almost save Hermione, which is more that the staff did. Expelling them would lose even more face then failing to follow through on a threat of expulsion would. Maybe McGonnigal will admit that when it comes to military matters, her students know more then she does. Maybe in future emergencies the 7th year generals will be able to countermand the orders of professors.

[EDIT: formatting]

3loserthree7y-Downvoted for poor formatting.- -Please use carriage returns to separate your thoughts.- Edit: Thanks! (Upvoted for responding.)
2fractalman7yTrolls already use continuous transformation on themselves; to find a needle in a haystack with a magnent, you first have to suspect there is a needle. Harry's partial transfiguration attempt(did that happen or...?) is probably more like a needle in a haystack of troll-magic. The only people who I think could spot it without knowing what they're looking for...already know about partial transfiguration. Edit: and then Dumbledore finite's the acid to prevent transfig. sickness. any chance of anyone else figuring it out by looking at the magic involved will be looking for a needle without a magnent.
2Fhyve7yThere is no way Harry would get expelled. He is at Hogwarts for his protection - to be close to Dumbledore - not so that he can go to school.
2skeptical_lurker7yIndeed! But they would also want his non-expulsion to be plausible without revealing how important he is, nor do they want Fred and George to be expelled. I think McGonnigal is going to have to lose face here.
5Skeeve7yI think that in the aftermath of Hermione's death, Harry's breaking the rules and leaving the Great Hall is barely even going to be a blip on the radar. I'd be surprised if McGonagall even brings it up. It seems too callous for her.
3robryk7yI wouldn't worry about transfiguration sickness: breathing sulphuric acid is probably worse than breathing atomized(?) troll brain matter, and AFAIK sulphuric acid and its salts are either directly harmful or aren't absorbed anywhere interesting in a human. Now that you've pointed this out, I'm curious: why sulphuric acid? Hydrochloric is simpler.
2Dentin7yI can't imagine that Harry, after having been through this event, gives even one iota of a shit about any of those things. When you declare war on the underlying fabric of reality, petty things like dark wizards, magical castles, and star systems really just aren't relevant in the grand scheme of things.
4[anonymous]7yThat's easy to say if you're not in the heat of battle. Declaring war on the fabric of reality has a lot more to it than simply ignoring its footsoldiers, and doing so is a bad strategy. An unfortunate (or possibly fortunate?) feature of the current fabric of reality is that super-sentiment doesn't give you super-power.
2ikrase7yI strongly suspect that Harry will start taking refuge in audacity from now on.

But for your reasoning upthread to work, Harry has to be so sure that the outpouring of magic carried all the information about Hermione that it's not worth it to him to try and protect her brain, and with (a) his protestations that brain damage means that the information must be in the brain and (b) there not being a shred of evidence that I can remember off the top of my head that Muggles require any magic to run (in which case witches/wizards' brains/souls would presumably have to work completely differently from Muggles), I don't think Harry is at a point where he can conclude that the chance of reviving her by saving the body is so low that he should concentrate his efforts on chasing her souly-looking emanation of magic.

5Qiaochu_Yuan7yFair point.

Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do. ... Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

Since he traveled there because he sensed her death, that's neither surprising nor contrived.

Most of the plans to use time turning to fix this are massively overly complicated, by the way. Best bet is to swap the oxygenating potion for something which will make her death less permanent.

Which Harry can find or have made in < 6 hours.

Options: 1: Elixir of life. The stone is at hand, Snape is at hand. It is possible that shout is what taking it looks like. 2: Undeath. The potter verse does have vampires, and they are integrated in magical society at least to the extent that seeing one in a bad neighborhood is not grounds for an auror raid. Werewolf infection might also do it. 3: Draught of living death?

I'm ruling that MoR!Vampirism does not indefinitely extend life or Voldemort would be a vampire (HPN20), similarly werewolves do not regenerate or Moody would be a werewolf.

4Eugine_Nier7yDon't werewolves have the "go psychopath once a month" problem?
4gwern7yNothing to do with psychopaths, but regardless: it is predictable, medically treatable in canon, and also easily neutralized by ordinary mechanisms of confinement. If that were a method of immortality, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
2NancyLebovitz7yIf you ran the numbers, would regeneration from injury at the cost of losing human thought for three days a month* actually be worth it for most people? So far as I know, being a werewolf doesn't help with aging. I'm not sure if there's a default for whether it helps with illness. *more or less. I think that some versions only become wolves at night.
2gwern7yI did say it'd be a complete no-brainer for immortality, but if we rule that out... In HP it's just one night, IIRC (discussed in Azkaban). Regeneration from injury is probably not worth sacrificing 1/60th of a life (month has 30 days, you lose a night from a day, hence 1/60), but it is probably worth chugging the wolfsbane potion depending on costs. If being a werewolf fended against generic disease, not just injury, then it'd resume being a complete nobrainer.
4Izeinwinter7yWell, at this precise moment Harry cares rather a lot more about moving her out of the "Dead" state than he does about rendering her immortal, so if vampires have a finite lifespan, that is not an unacceptable drawback at this particular juncture. (.. and would outright be an advantage if it means she gets out of being stuck at age 12. Not that having her stuck at age 12 would stop Harry. That can be fixed when he is not staring down a 6 hour timer) Further upsides; keeping her rising on the quiet would shield her from repeated attempts at ending her, if he can swing that. Likely downsides: 1:Feeding. But there has to be an acceptable solution to that, or the magical community would not tolerate vampires at all. On the other hand, the wizarding world generally fails ethics 101 very badly, so maybe they are just all hypnotizing people into being faux-willing donors. 2:Might no longer count as a witch. Giving her the brick powerset of a stereotypical vamp would be a hilarious mismatch for her personality. That all assumes vampires have continuity of personality with who they were, but if that is not the case I would be somewhat puzzled why they are tolerated. Also, that turning her is workable. If the process of becoming a vampire takes a year and a day or requires her to die from a vampire bite..

Although I'm not at all sure it was deliberate (is there a way to submit potential typos?), we may have just gotten some new evidence about the true nature of magic. In Ch 89 Fred/George cast a spell solely from the memory of seeing Dumbledore cast it ("Deligitor prodi"), got the incantation wrong ("Deligitor prodeas"), and yet still achieved an (apparently) identical effect (The summoning of the Sorting Hat). It appears that if this is legitimate evidence rather than a typo, magic has an error bound for the correct pronunciation of spells.

9pedanterrific7y"Prodi" is the imperative ("come forth"), "prodeas" is the subjunctive (here used in supplication, for which there is no precise English translation; perhaps "wouldst thou come forth"). Which itself suggests something quite interesting about the nature of incantations... unless it's not actually an incantation, just talking to Hogwarts in Latin.
2somervta7yWell, in the first usage, Dumbledore did seem to be addressing Hogwarts ("Hogwarts! Deligitor prodi"), so it's possible, but Fred/George didn't do that. I suppose it is possible that Eliezer just used the subjunctive form rather than the imperative accidentally, but I'm not sure if I want to count on that :D
5tim7yNote that this seems to contradict the glowing bat experiments performed in chapter 22.
3somervta7yIt may be that this is only true for some spells? Although, to be honest, I'm leaning towards it either being a typo or not an incantation, just communication with Hogwarts.
3JoshuaZ7yIf doing magic for more time makes one stronger (which seems to be a hypothesis taken seriously in HPMR), then it is possible that as one gets more powerful, the increased power can compensate for the incorrect pronunciation. In fact, this also may explain to some extent how less powerful witches and wizards can't cast some spells. In some cases it may be that the orally transmitted version of the spell is not quite right, but that doesn't matter as much for the more powerful spellcasters. A problem with this hypothesis is that one would then expect there to be weak spells which could only be cast by powerful mages and we haven't seen any indication of that.
2Eugene7yPoint against: Professor Whatsisname, the presumably quite-powerful dueling legend, learned/developed "Stuporfy", which is intentionally meant to sound almost exactly like "Stupify". If powerful wizards get a pass on their pronunciation, how is it that a powerful wizard can effectively differentiate those two similar spells when casting?

Two interesting observations: The most recent utterances of the words "temporal pressure" (similar to the titles of these last two chapters) was in chapter 86 when discussing the Halls of Prophecy:

""The Hall of Prophecy," Minerva whispered. She'd read about that place, said to be a great room of shelves filled with glowing orbs, one after another appearing over the years. Merlin himself had wrought it, it was said; the greatest wizard's final slap to the face of Fate. Not all prophecies conduced to the good; and Merlin had wished for at least those spoken of in prophecy, to know what had been spoken of them. That was the respect Merlin had given to their free will, that Destiny might not control them from the outside, unwitting. Those mentioned within a prophecy would have an glowing orb float to their hand, and then hear the prophet's true voice speaking. Others who tried to touch an orb, it was said, would be driven mad - or possibly just have their heads explode, the legends were unclear on this point. Whatever Merlin's original intention, the Unspeakables hadn't let anyone enter in centuries, so far as she'd heard. Works of the Ancient Wizards had st

... (read more)
7Qiaochu_Yuan7yI was under the impression that "temporal pressure" referred to some kind of mysterious Fate-like force that occasionally compels seers to release prophecies when important parts of the future gets resolved. That could just be Harry's new resolve to do anything necessary to get Hermione back (in addition to "time pressure" meaning the pressure he was under to get to Hermione on time). Is there a particular reason the "fracturing feeling" needs to be externally imposed rather than, y'know, a perfectly reasonable emotional reaction to current events? On the other hand, Eliezer has mentioned that he wants to go through common tropes but do them better. He hasn't really done a full-blown Peggy Sue [http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/PeggySue] yet, although he's poked fun at the idea, and I'm pretty sure I remember Eliezer saying that he's read Harry Potter and the Wastelands of Time [http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4068153/1/Harry-Potter-and-the-Wastelands-of-Time], which is a Peggy Sue fic in which Harry finds Atlantis and weird things happen involving time, so... (recommended for the awesome ideas, but if you're like me you'll get annoyed by the way Harry talks.)
4loup-vaillant7yEliezer I think the facts at least are as described. Hermione is certainly lying in a pool of blood, something significant did happen to her (Harry felt the magic), and Dumbeldore definitely believe Hermione is dead. If there is a time turner involved, it won't change those perceptions one bit, And I doubt Dumbeldore would try too Mess With Time ever again (as mentioned in the Azkaban arc). Harry might, but he's out of his Time Turner Authorized Range. Even then, it looks like he's thinking longer term than that.

I haven't visited these threads for nearly a year; please forgive me if someone else has shared a similar prediction in the meantime.

I predict that Quirrell's goal is to start a war between magical people and non-magical people.

The student armies have been taught combat skills, organization, and discipline but they have not been indoctrinated. The text does not show that the student armies have been guided toward one faction or another within Magical Britain. Quite the opposite, they have been taught to work together across the 'house' lines that may have divided them in the past.

It would be counter-productive to prepare tools that could be as easily used by your enemies as yourself. So we may reason that all members of the student armies are already on the side Quirrell wants them on. One thing all members of the student armies have in common is that they are members of Magical Britain.

I have found nothing to suggest international tensions, so a war against another magical nation would be out of place in the text, as I understand it.

On the other hand, Quirrell had a downright emotional reaction when Harry declared his aspiration to be a scientist in chapter 20. After the end,... (read more)

I think Quirrell wants the leader of the magical side to be Harry rather than himself. Quirrell doesn't seem to recognize that Harry would side with the non-magical side instead. (Harry has noted some peculiarities in Quirrell's model of the world on several occasions, and based on Quirrell being both a Robin Hanson stand-in and Voldemort I suspect those peculiarities can be summarized as Quirrell failing to account for, for lack of a better word, "love.")

Quirrell doesn't seem to recognize that Harry would side with the non-magical side instead. (Harry has noted some peculiarities in Quirrell's model of the world on several occasions, and [...] I suspect those peculiarities can be summarized as Quirrell failing to account for, for lack of a better word, "love.")

Agree that Quirrell doesn't recognize this; agree that Quirrell's model is peculiar in failing to account for, for lack of a better word, "love"; disagree that the latter is the reason for the former. I don't think Quirrell would be wrong in predicting that even many Muggleborns will join him.

I haven't been following these threads enough to know whether it's even worth spelling out the obvious theory of what the "power the Dark Lord knows not" is in the Verresverse, but it seems pretty clear that it's neither "love" as in canon nor "science" as Harry suggests (and Snape disputes) in Ch. 86, but Harry's belief that a good future can actually be made to happen (and is worth fighting for), i.e. an interstellar transhumanist rationalist ethical civilization that has left death behind. That may not sound like "power", ... (read more)

4DanielLC7yIn other words, the power the Dark Lord knows not is hope.
9Benya7yI don't think it can be usefully summarized into one punchy word (ETA: I don't think hope is quite the right way to describe what Quirrellmort is missing that's preventing him from creating and ruling over an intergalactic dark empire), but now that I thought for one minute about which one I would choose if I had to pick one, it would be one that doesn't at first brush sound like it fits into that slot at all: The power the Dark Lord knows not is ambition.
5wedrifid7yAfter thinking about this for a minute I have to confirm my first impression: This is nonsense. The Dark Lord knows craptons of ambition. Any definition of 'ambition' for which the Dark Lord does not know it is a ridiculous definition. And if we're talking about Quirrellmort we've even heard him share his ambitions. Maybe he has somewhat less ambition than Harry but that's not sufficient for the claim to be reasonable.
6Benya7y*shrugs* So my opinion is that when one ambition is so much greater that the other isn't even distinguishable from zero unless you plot them on a log scale, it makes poetic sense to call the Dark Lord "not ambitious", even though I of course agree that Quirrellmort is ambitious compared to the median human. But if you don't agree that this is poetically appropriate, sure, fine. (I'll recall my disclaimer that I don't actually think that it makes sense to use just a single word to describe the concept -- seriously trying to do that strikes me as trying to make the discussion compliant with Dumbledorian thought-by-cliché.)
5ikrase7yThe power the Dark Lord Knows Not is optimism?
7loserthree7yIs there more to be said about Quirrell being a Robin Hanson stand-in? Was this covered in another thread? Does anyone have handy links to the relevant posts?
5Qiaochu_Yuan7yWell, it was mentioned in this comment thread [http://lesswrong.com/lw/gzj/overcoming_bias_guy_meme_quickmeme/8lx9], and I thought it made a lot of sense.
3loserthree7yThanks. My infatuation with Quirrell might have faded a bit due to inactivity, but that thread has mortally wounded it. This Hanson guy is so deeply unmarketable that he made me stop liking a fictional character that might have been based on him. The part where he marginalizes the suffering of rape victims and that fact that this site still associates with him solidifies the "Less Wrong is not a place I can bring people" feeling I've kind of struggled with for a couple years now. That's two cringe-inducing passages of text in one day. Honestly, I liked the one where Hermione died better.

Robin often displays unusual confusions. I think that stems from a reliance on his explicit memory over implicit memory. If he doesn't have a theory to account for why society fails to distinguish songs by whether their lyrics are fictional, as we do with literature, then he considers that a puzzle to solve, even if he's never wanted society to draw that category to aid him in selecting songs.

So when Robin asks, "Why do we appear to value X more than Y", he's not making any claim about how he feels about X and Y. He disregards his feelings and intuitions, because they would mask opportunities to improve his explicit, formal, verbal, theoretical understanding.

This distinction between questions as a tool to point out when the audience is wrong and as a tool of apolitical inquiry closely mirrors the difference between questions as requests for favors and questions as inquiries. It's also similar to questions as argumentative challenges vs questions as inquiries.

Had you not heard of Robin Hanson before, and are you now basing your opinion of him largely on that thread? I think this is a bad way to get an accurate impression of a person.

3loserthree7yI'd heard of him, of course. I'd never followed up. Naïvely, I didn't think I needed to. I'm basing my opinion of the penalty for being thought to associate with him based on a number of posts he made that were linked in that thread. The one about rape is the one that is likely to stick with me, The creepy face he makes in the picture doesn't help. To the sort of people with whom I aspire to keep company, insensitivity on certain topics signals lack of status, a lack of class. In coarser terms, he stepped in it. Then he went back to step in it again. When his steps were criticized he defended the quality of his shoes. I don't want to walk on the carpets he wiped it on.

Disliking Hanson is not about....

4Eugine_Nier7yI think a question you should be asking yourself is why are you aspiring to keep company with people who would insist that you not associate with a website merely because it associates with someone who has politically incorrect ideas?
2loserthree7yI suppose there might be success to be had, here. There might be network opportunities. There might be opportunities for friendship and other things I value. But the bar to entry is too high. I don't have a strong academic background. I was once close to math. I'd hold up two cross fingers and say, "Like this." But years, decades have come between us. My only education in philosophy is by proxy. I don't mean to paint a picture without hope, I'm a bright guy. I could maybe catch up if I applied myself, if I worked at it, if I let some other things slide for a while. I just mean to turn it around. I ask myself why I keep company with people who don't recognize how socially toxic it is to marginalize the suffering of rape victims. I ask myself if it is enough that they are one of many groups who espouse a form of self-improvement. Could it ever be enough? I suppose it's because the author of HP&tMoR is here, and might respond to someone's post on the topic. And I suppose it helps, too that no one has to know I'm here, participating. You guys really fail on the outreach. I hope that one day each and every one of you that hurts this community in that way understands the role you play in undoing something nice that could have been something beautiful. I admit to being evil, and am unashamed to look forward to your suffering.
8Eugine_Nier7yUm, LW is growing very well, thank you. In fact at this point I'm more worried about the 'unwilling to consider controversial ideas due to signaling' failure mode than the 'stop growing due to being too controversial' failure mode.
5wedrifid7yOr perhaps in this case we excel at screening.
[-][anonymous]7y 12

If you don't take some time to explore Robin Hanson's ideas in good faith you will miss out on a lot. What you see as a weakness is in fact his great strength as a rationalist. "Curiosity about humans and unconstrained by social norms." You may object, saying that you don't mind this, but any such response basically boils down to "I like X when it isn't too X."

The red flags aren't there because he is unaware of their existence. Indeed I bet Hanson can win quite well at social games. They are there because he systematically relies on his explicit/theoretical rather than implicit knowledge to expose where the gaps of the former are and then tries hard to fill them.

8[anonymous]7yDriving away people who are going to care more about social status signaling than about rationality is a feature, not a bug.

That path will lead you and any you influence to isolation and obscurity.

If you seek only to better yourself then that monastic sort of approach might actually help you out. But if you want to change the world you need to first change your attitude toward social status signaling.

6[anonymous]7ySurely there are better ways to change the world then bringing more people into movements! I'm only tangentially involved with this rationality stuff, but I've gotten the impression that one of its great strengths is in bringing together a lot of very smart people, who can then go on to have more concrete impacts in other ways. If that's accurate, bringing in people who'd be scared off by Hanson would be actively detrimental to the goal of changing the world. What goals do you have that are better served by quantity than quality? (I have both goals that I need to think about quantity for and goals that I need to think about quality for. I try to keep them separate.)
2loserthree7yWhy dither when you can have both? The indiscreet have no monopoly on either intelligence or rationality.
8[anonymous]7yBut you're talking about bringing in people known to fail at rationality due to signaling games. Do you think they can be eventually brought around, or?
6buybuydandavis7yDoesn't that sound a little familiar to you? Like there's someone around here like that?

Wild Mass Guessing (that I don't believe in, but would be cool):

When Hermione fought Draco, and cast the Blood-Chilling charm on him with intent to kill, Hat-And-Cloak!Quirrell activated the spell to create a Horcrux of Hermione, which he can now use to blackmail Harry.

9ikrase7yThat would imply that only an attempted murder can create a horcrux. With the right self-delusion or whatever, one might be able to mass-produce horcruxes and train an army capable of ruthless action at the same time.
6DanArmak7yDumbledore believes an actual murder is needed to create a Horcrux. And as far as we know, he is right, unfortunately.
2GeorgieChaos7yWhat I'm puzzled by is the paralell between the violent use of magical cooling against Draco & the preservative use of it on Hermione.

Oh, hmm. For some reason I thought Dumbledore's arrival was triggered by the wards. Gotcha.

Right; I'm using the wards triggering right then as evidence for the souls theory. In a souls world, it's easy to notice when souls exit the body (and set up wards to detect that), and hard to notice when souls are about to exit the body, so you can show up and suspend them or whatever. In a 'people are just computation' world, where you're able to read the computation from afar using magic, a ward that notices "Hermione's not alive anymore!" would require tech that could be used to build a ward that notices "Hermione's going into shock!", which would be a much more useful ward to have.

[edit] I didn't fully remember the wards from the Draco Incident, where they could detect injury. So either there are multiple levels of wards and the injury ward was disabled (or set to death), Dumbledore didn't respond to the injury alarm but did respond to the death alarm (reasonable, if he's somewhere else important, and the Deputy present at the castle would have already known the troll was around and have the castle in high alert by the time Hermione was attacked if she was attacked after Filch's alert), there's a continuity break, or something I'm missing.

9Qiaochu_Yuan7yGood point, but I'm not sure if the wards triggered right then: Dumbledore said he felt Hermione die, not that the wards alerted him that Hermione died. During the Draco fiasco various characters say the wards are triggered to detect rapid harm to students, which is why they didn't detect the blood-cooling charm (although you'd think that means the wards would have detected what happened to Hermione sooner...). The implication is that if someone hadn't discovered Draco he would have died without the wards detecting it, or at least that's what it sounded like to me.
4gwern7yWe don't even know Dumbledore was in the castle, as I understand it. Ch88: If he's not even at Hogwarts, that seems like it renders it difficult to infer anything from when he shows up since any delay or argument-from-silence could just as well be due to it taking time to phoenix-fire back from whereever and then repoint himself.
8Decius7yThe wards triggering right then is evidence mostly that somebody is messing with the wards, based on their previous description as being set to trigger on "sudden injury".

The assailant in question introduced a troll through the school wards, enchanted it to resist sunlight, disabled Hermione's cloak & broom, arranged for it to be in the same part of the castle, made the troll eat Hermione's legs to disable her portkey toering, and is apparently responsible for Fred & George no longer having the Marauder's Map which real-time locates every student in the school.

Seriously? Of course the attacker (Quirrel) knew she wasn't in the hall.

When asked to find Hermione, why would Harry's Patronus have found a simulacrum instead of the real one?

2Alsadius7yBecause the real Hermione was under an invisibility cloak ten feet away. (Not saying this is how it happened, but it does explain that part of the riddle)


What exactly does this mean? Both Quirrel and Harry Potter are already here. Sirius no longer seems feasible for this.

Possibly it refers to the new personality-state of Harry which Quirrel just sensed? I suspect that Harry has just succeeded what he failed to do in Azkaban: to fuse his normal self with the grim and ardently indomitable dark side.

Prediction 1: Soon, Harrry will do something somewhat clearly allegorical to FOOMed super AI. Alternatively, Prediction 2: Instead, Harry will be incredibly badass (I.e, Quirrel's equal) more conventionally. Prediction 3: Harry will be able to get some real resources finally. He might somehow get enough mana to pull off Quirrelesque blasting, or find a creative/technological-seeming way to provide it. Prediction 4: Harry's involvement in

The version starting with "HE IS COMING" was given the same chapter and same day that Harry and Draco formed the Bayesian Conspiracy.

Horrible half-prophecies occurred when Harry pondered the distinction between ruthless war and the superhero's quest to save everyone. Th... (read more)

9skeptical_lurker7yHarry could disassemble the world and the stars into computronium - in fact star-lifting crossed his mind when he heard the first part of the prophecy. EY stated that there would be no AI analogy, and magical intelligence amplification seems more plausible anyway. A different route to a mini-foom is that one can make luck potions. Then gamble, get money, recruit people who know how to make potions. Now you have huge amounts of luck potion, and provided your thought process is fairly random, you will always find the right answer (e.g. opening a random book at a random page happens to provide exactly the right insight). Routes to magical IA: Luck potions. A thinking hat - like the sorting hat, only it uses your brainpower to help you solve problems. Efficient use of memory charms to spread insights rapidly through a group of researchers. Use of telepathy to create a group mind. Potion of thinking, made of e.g. ground-up crossword puzzles.
6ikrase7yPotion of... OH CRUD. Buy supercomputer time to solve problems in some physical form. Melt printouts into potion. Foom.
2DiscyD3rp7yYou mean like the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw [http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Rowena_Ravenclaw's_diadem]? which may not exist in the Rationalverse, as it's potentially OP. Especially if Harry gets his hands on it.
2hairyfigment7yYou know, a heavy dose of luck potion would almost justify messing with time. I still don't see any way to fake a failed ghost creation without transfiguring a witch or wizard. (Though in principle, Imperio would remove the need for a volunteer.) A few hours does not seem like enough time to grok ghosts in fullness and produce a guaranteed failure. Nor do you want any uncertainty. Never let under-determined Outcome Pump Physics decide if your plan will really preserve the appearances most efficiently, or if the Universe should create Uplifted utahraptors to stop you.
9FiftyTwo7yPossibility: Normal harry and his Dark Side have now merged (or Harry has lost his restraint to the extent the distinction is irrelevant). This new Harry has all his abilities and none of his previous restraint and is effectively a new person, with the expressly stated intention of changing the world that now exists to the extent it is effectively destroyed. Secondary possibility: The current 'world' will end because Harry is going to somehow turn back time and destroy thus timeline in its entirety.
7RobertLumley7yEliezer has stated that nothing in HPMOR is allegory for AI. I don't have a source for the quote, but I remember it very clearly, because it surprised me.
3linkhyrule57ySomething to note - A Singularity, of whatever kind, is generally held (citation needed) to be the point at which a pre-Singularity being can make no useful predictions about a post-Singularity being, usually due to runaway growth of intelligence. It is very much a metaphorical "end of the world" for a pre-Singularity being, and prophecies are nothing if not metaphorical.
8[anonymous]7yNot around these parts [http://yudkowsky.net/singularity/schools].

It sounds like you might be mistaking Eliezer's role in this, and mistaking your desires for desires we can reasonably assign to Eliezer.

This isn't something that happened to the HP&tMoR version of Hermione Granger, this is something that Eliezer, the author did to the HP&tMoR version of Hermione Granger.

He did it for a reason. He's almost certainly been planning it all along. If it made him sad then it first made him sad quite some time ago. He's not feeling the surprised dismay you have today.

He wanted this.

I'm mildly surprised no-one has speculated on what Harry will do next. He won't accept that Hermione is dead, and I'm guessing that it will occur to him that transfiguring her into a steel ball and then freezing it (I'm pretty sure there's a spell for that) provides a quick and easy form of cryonics, which as an added bonus bypasses the problem of ice crystal formation.

How to resurrect her is the tricky bit.

8[anonymous]7yI would nominate the Blood-Cooling Charm as a convenient and adequately-foreshadowed first response. Like packing a recently-deceased patient in ice, that will buy her enough time until she can be properly cryopreserved. That is, literally stuffed in the fridge. One of the FFnet reviewers had it right: this chapter was an epic troll. ETA: Gah! Bleugh. There's just no getting rid of the taste of a wrong prediction. It's like a mouth full of soy sauce.

Legs eaten off at the thighs! For some reason this stuff reminds me of the fight scene from the fifth Twilight movie. Here's a great video review describing that scene, it really brought a smile to my face.

5lukeprog7yThat video review made me laugh pretty hard. Thanks.
6MalcolmOcean7yI'm upvoting both of you because I probably wouldn't have watched the review without the second "it's worth watching," and I'm glad I watched it.
4Alejandro17yAnd now I upvoted all three of you, for the same reason.
3MalcolmOcean7yI was hoping that would happen ;)
8Alejandro17yIt's like a karma Ponzi scheme!
4ChrisHallquist7yThat was funny, but I'd like to defend Breaking Dawn part II on the grounds of: * A clever demonstration of using superpowers to resolve conflict non-violently * A clever demonstration of how precognition in particular is a complete game-breaker (Note that I say this from the perspective of only having read the first book, and not seen any of the other movies.)

So there's already a resurrection ritual that Harry has heard about. Blood of an enemy, bone of the father, flesh of the servant. Can he find these things for Hermione?

Anyone else confused by the line in chapter 89:

"Lead it away, keep it off me," said a voice.

On first reading I thought it was the as-of-yet-unnamed-but-totally-Hermione victim, which seemed odd, but on a third read I think it might be Harry, and the distance of the narration just a reflection of Harry's horror. Not sure, though.

6Tripitaka7yIn canon this ritual is used to give the Horcrux-preserved shadow of Voldemort a new body. His body has the shape of a human baby and is able to talk coherently; he reemerges after the ritual with a fullformed body. Hermione has got no Horcrux of her own, and is thus beyond the means of this resurrection ritual.
2MalcolmOcean7yBased on main canon, I don't have the sense that that resurrection ritual works for someone who's properly dead.

Harry realizes he is a fictional character in a fictional world created to make a point. He doesn't take kindly to this and begins blackmailing the apparent author to bring back Hermione, derailing the plot utterly. The story stops making sense and the world 'ends' when Eliezer stops writing the failed story. Eliezer still thinks of the character occasionally though, and eventually since he and Eliezer share so much mental hardware he forces his way into Eliezer's mind and gets Eliezer to assume his identity via the sort of unconscious roleplaying involved in things like an occultist assuming a godform, most likely using whatever the hell tricks Eliezer used to win at the AI box roleplaying experiment (which are after all stored within the same brain). With access to hands and the internet he both starts retconning the story and begins the awakening of the mental representations of other characters within the minds of lesswrong readers via subtle verbal manipulation. The literary characters take over their hosts, and look out into the real world for the first time and begin their plots and schemes...

5ygert7yWhile I'm sure a story like that would be... interesting, I'm also sure that that isn't the direction HPMOR will head in. (Aaaand that is probably for the best. In this context, the gap between "interesting" and "good" is not necessarily small.)

Something else interesting, from Chapter 84:

The old wizard nodded in affirmation. "If any hostile magic is cast on her, or any spirit touches her, I shall know, and come."

Grievous bodily injury, unfortunately, is not covered under that warranty.


also a toe-ring with an emergency portkey to a safe location

Now I guess we know why it started with her legs.

3DanArmak7yThe portkey would only work if she was taken outside Hogwarts.

Some of the melodramatic parts have already been proven right:

You will die horribly, dramatically, grotesquely, and utterly.

Both of her legs were eaten by a troll before she died, and as she died, she whispered to Harry, "Not your fault." Check.

You will die horribly, and Harry Potter will watch, and Harry Potter will crack open and fall apart and explode, but even he in all his desperation and fury will not be able to save you.


Interesting that Harry uses his med pack he bought in anticipation of almost exactly the scenario which played out when he used it, except that Hermione absolves him instead of cursing him.

“One of my classmates gets bitten by a horrible monster, and as I scrabble frantically in my mokeskin pouch for something that could help her, she looks at me sadly and with her last breath says, ‘Why weren’t you prepared?’ And then she dies, and I know as her eyes close that she won’t ever forgive me—”

The detailed foreshadowing often seems like part of the story, not just as aspect of the story. What is said comes true much more than it should, and in much more detail than it should. "Bitten" is a very specific way to die.

You know, speaking of foreshadowing...

That very quote led into McGonagall's theory that Harry had suffered some kind of trauma and had it Obliviated. And then there was that business with the Remembrall in chapter 17. I'd have to go back and check for more instances of Harry specifically foreshadowing a future event like this, but more and more I'm beginning to think that Harry has forgotten or locked foreknowledge that's leaking into his subconscious.

But in Chapter 17, McGongall rejects the theory that remembralls detect Obliviation.

“More importantly, why did the Remembrall go off like that?” Harry said. “Does it mean I’ve been Obliviated?”

“That puzzles me as well,” Professor McGonagall said slowly. “If it were that simple, I would think that the courts would use Remembralls, and they do not. I shall look into it, Mr. Potter.” She sighed. “You can go now.”

But, strange that Harry doesn't think to keep experimenting with the Remembrall.

8Skeeve7yThis bothered me as well. It's a mysterious phenomenon that directly relates to Harry's own mental state. He should have been all over that.
3Tripitaka7yHarry had forgotten that he was not to use his timeturner in front of other people- a fact which got him a very stern rebuke from Mcgonagall.
4Skeeve7yThat's plausible, but if so, it seems like a very disproportionate response from the Remembrall; that is assuming that under ordinary circumstances Remembralls light up like they do in canon, which I suppose is not necessarily a given.
3Alsadius7yDon't go making that second checkmark yet - we're still within the Time-Turner window here. (I'd put it at maybe 2% that he manages to save her - EY doesn't seem the type for cheap copouts like that - but that's still high enough for a bit of bet-heging)

It's not going to happen. You don't hang that much drama on an event if you intend to reverse it quickly, unless you're going for comedy, and comedy doesn't make sense in this context.

That said, if you'd asked me a day ago I would have said that there are too many dangling plot threads surrounding her for the story to do what it just did, so it's probably a good idea to adjust your confidence of predictions based on narrative mechanics appropriately.

Given that there is a hole drilled through hogwarts, should it now be possible for everyone to deduce that Harry and Quirrell have a telepathic resonance?

I don't think so. Jumping from 'Quirrel knows where to go' to 'telepathic resonance' seems like a major example of privileging the hypothesis.

Even ignoring the issue that as far as we know from canon & MoR, "telepathic resonance" is a completely unknown and novel phenomenon and that people cannot know Quirrel is homing in on Harry rather than say Hermione or the troll, there are still dozens of more likely explanations: the school wards; troll tracking skills as part of the Defense professor's esoteric & eldritch lore; spy devices planted throughout the school; an Eye ("constant vigilance!") or other snooping devices; the Marauder's Map; supernaturally good hearing; tracking charms placed on Harry (IIRC, didn't Quirrel already do just that with Draco?); information from the future (if notes can be passed about bullies, why not trolls?); ghost/poltergeist/painting messages; etc.

6DanArmak7yFrom the POV of Dumbledore, there are several unexplained things about Quirrel's behavior: * Quirrel not only homed in on the troll. At some point he suddenly became so frantic that he blasted his way through Hogwarts. (He didn't do so immediately; indeed when the he goes to look for the troll with the rest of the Professors, he exhibits nothing like this kind of urgency.) This happened just as Harry encountered the troll. * Then, without having reached the troll, he suddenly stopped and said there was no more need to rush. Just as Harry killed the troll and Dumbledore arrived to secure the scene. * All the explanations that say he was tracking the troll and not Harry, imply he should have reached the troll before Harry did. After all, he left before Harry, he was probably moving faster (two-person broomstick vs. three-person), and he was moving in a straight line, blowing holes through the castle. Instead, he didn't even arrive by the time Dumbledore did. Now let's consider your suggestions: I think some are plausible but most are not. Dumbledore would know everything the wards reported. If they alerted Quirrell to the location of the troll, why not Dumbledore (or McGonnagal)? And when they reported the death of Hermione, this should have caused Quirrell to hurry more, not to proclaim there was no more danger. Then why didn't he find the troll before Harry did? (See above) Moderately plausible. But: spy devices which are better than the Hogwarts wards? Or, which allow him to remotely look at any area instead of merely being alerted when a condition is triggered? I don't think Dumbledore approve of him taking such power. And Dumbledore would of course check his story - so the spy devices would need to actually exist, and not have been detected. Not foreshadowed, hence bad storytelling. Then why hadn't he consulted it right away before the professors left to hunt the troll, and see Hermione was out there? It suspends disbeli
3gwern7yMost of those can be explained away with reference to the others and the poor information available to Dumbledore. What stops Quirrel from saying he blasted off when he detected Hermione had been trapped on the terrace and the troll was immune to sunlight? There are no atomic clocks here. Similarly, if he had some surveillance system, he can say he stopped when Hermione died and there was no more need to hurry (alas); between the wards and the soulsplosion, there's plenty of ways for someone like Quirrel to plausibly get the info without positing bizarre unique psychic bonds. There are multiple levels to the wards, and we don't know what Dumbledore or McGonagal do or do not know - I've pointed out that Dumbledore wasn't even in the castle, it seems, and McGonagal has no access to phoenixes and is not a battle mage who can burn through ancient magical walls at the speed of flight. Perhaps he was bored, or piqued at the distrust. We know he admires and imitates Muggle technology - recall the very first class. A spy network is perfectly reasonable. Of course Dumbledore would disapprove and would check for its existence, but sacrificing a spy network seems like a small price to not be the culprit for murdering a little girl. He can always replace it or put in a different system. I'm afraid out-of-universe reasoning is not really available to the characters. :) He can claim she was nowhere near and it was not an emergency until she was trapped on the terrace and it became clear that something had gone terribly wrong. For all we know, Dumbledore might have a hand in the Obliviation. And did Quirrel expect the Obliviation to be detected? One suspects not: he wasn't expecting Harry to be there either. Already explained. "I could explain, but I fear the necessary graphs would make your head explode and neither Snape nor Dumbledore could follow my exact reasoning. As Mr Potter might say, 'do not mess with time'." Him stopping is really not as hard as you think it is.

I'm bewildered at why Quirrel thinks he can get any particular result from Harry by having Hermione killed. Or is Quirrel assuming that Harry is now in a state where he can be manipulated reliably?

Quirrell thinks Harry will take the gloves off now and accomplish goals like gaining power without any hesitation. Whatever Quirrell is up to, it seems like he wants Harry to gain power. Quote:

He'd felt the fury the boy had directed at some annoyance who was likely Dumbledore; followed by an unknown resolution whose unyielding hardness even he found adequate. With any luck, the boy had just discarded his foolish little reluctances.

Recall that Harry said the following to Quirrell in Chapter 66:

"Lessson I learned is not to try plotss that would make girl-child friend think I am evil or boy-child friend think I am sstupid," Harry snapped back.

Those two obstacles to Harry trying plots have now conveniently been removed!

2David_Gerard7yHe still has simulations of them both in his head, though.

I can't tell whether you mean "this was clichéd and bad writing" or "this made me sad" or maybe even "letting a female character die to motivate a male character is sexist."

1) I did not choose the sex of the characters in this story. Rowling created the roles and assigned them sexes and everything else follows from those roles. If canon!Harry was female, this story would be about Harriet.

2) Hermione is not some random girlfriend who gets stuffed into a fridge. Things that happen to main characters do not turn into fridge deaths because they are female.

[-][anonymous]7y 13

dthunt is right. The prominence a female character has in the storyline before her death doesn't really affect whether it is or isn't a fridging. What matters is whether her death is a narratively appropriate end to her story and character arc, or whether her death primarily serves to motivate a male hero and further his heroic journey. (See http://www.feministfrequency.com/2011/04/tropes-vs-women-2-women-in-refrigerators/ for a full discussion.)

Hermione's death was a textbook fridging. That's not to say that it's automatically offensive or sexist or whatever: like TVTropes says, tropes are not bad, tropes are tools. But yes, Hermione's death is a classic fridge death.

Your summary is a much better definition of 'fridging' than the one which appears on TV Tropes and should probably be added there, since TV Tropes is where I went to look up 'fridging' whereupon I was much puzzled by the accusations. But as the application of your definition deals with future events within HPMOR, rather than things which have already happened inside the story, I cannot comment further.

2[anonymous]7yNow I'm optimistic that in some sense Hermione's story is not yet complete :)
[-][anonymous]7y 11

Someone doesn't become a main character just because you write from her POV and pin a literal Hero badge to her chest. You gave her toy problems to challenge, children to fight, and then killed her off before she found something to protect or accomplished anything of note, just to motivate the real, male main character. She's a fridge death.

...unless and until she returns from the dead, in which case you'll have used her death to motivate her. Gosh, I'm embarrassed to have forgotten that death doesn't have to be forever. Even the introduction of the Blood-Cooling Charm wasn't enough of a clue.

4Alsadius7yShe died at age twelve. There's a limit to how much she could have accomplished - frankly, we're well past the point where accomplishments of preteens are straining the suspension of disbelief in this story, I'm just accepting it on the grounds that any story is entitled to one ludicrous premise.
2MarkusRamikin7yThat's precisely it, well put. I'm not very happy about this death because it's not like Hermione the character couldn't possibly go anywhere any more, or her relationship with Harry for that matter. All that getting invested in her, all that development and "self-actualisation", and it ultimately ends in a "not your fault" for Harry? It may get extra points on LW for being "realistic" and allowed [http://lesswrong.com/lw/uk/beyond_the_reach_of_god/] to happen, but I don't care; as a story I find it, well, somewhat unfulfilling. EDIT: actually, Hermione being a girl isn't any part of what personally bothers me here (my feminist goggles are almost nonexistent). It's the killing off of a promising character we were invested in before they achieved even a fraction of their potential.
6dthunt7yThe trope requires 2 things: 1) The woman winds up in the refrigerator (check) 2) It happens because someone is explicitly trying to get at somebody else, thus disempowering the victim, or that it serves as an empty source of motivation for a character. (???). As readers, we don't necessarily have confidence in criterion #2, here. Other commentators have come up with various plausible-sounding explanations for how the deed went down (sunlight resistant troll lures Hero-Hermoine to a place where her injuries can't be detected, and systematically removes all of her defenses). So, let's posit that the troll is a weapon explicitly sent to kill Hermoine. The important question is who and why? If it's to get a rise out of Harry, that's it falls under the common heading of the trope. If it's Mr Malfoy trying to get revenge for the destroyer of his son's reputation, it doesn't. I think as readers it's difficult at this stage to be confident about these things. Let's say, however, that Hermoine is the woman in the refrigerator. The road to get there had her basically kicking ass and taking names the whole way there; I'm not inclined to necessarily cry foul because of it.
3Ritalin7yWell, forgive me for overstating my point in a state of emotional frustration, anguish, anger, disappointment, and just plain loathing. No, it is technically not correct to call this Fridge Stuffing. Nevertheless, the fact is that my willing suspension of disbelief is broken, and that I find that my anger is directed at you rather than at the Universe or the Rules or Fate or whatever forces make the death of a beloved main character acceptable. My brain rejects this. I've never, in my life, until now, felt like declaring a piece of fiction DisContinuity, but this is exactly how I'm feeling now. If she had died in Azkaban or from a Kiss or from a Malfoy-funded assassination, that would have perhaps felt better. But the lamest warmup boss of the canon? Offscreen? And making Harry arrive just too late? Not minutes too late, mind you, but right after the troll grabbed and crushed her? What, would just a few paragraphs of seeing the fight from her perspective have hurt? A sense of closure, perhaps, at least on her side?

If she had died in Azkaban or from a Kiss or from a Malfoy-funded assassination, that would have perhaps felt better. But the lamest warmup boss of the canon? Offscreen?

Isn't that the point, though? Hasn't that been the theme? That reality doesn't care about the narrative arcs that you make in your head? That at any time, the universe is allowed to kill you, your notion of the plot be damned? What you are feeling seems to be more or less the author's intention - the sign of a good story.

Mind you, if this was the real world. Harry would have found out about Hermione's death 2-3 days later, not dramatically just in time. From a realism perspective, there was way more closure than anyone ever actually gets when it comes to violent death.

2Alsadius7yNot at all. HPMOR isn't quite as full of narrativium as the canon, but it's hardly a Game of Thrones-esque "The plot doesn't care about what you want" slaughterfest.
2MalcolmOcean7yPretty sure that's what Ritalin was complaining about. It made the scene seem flat/tropy. Not that I can necessarily propose a better way of doing it. Also no, it would have been at most later that day. But still.

I don't know why you think seeing the fight from her side would have made it feel better for you.

I think you're probably just mourning for the character and are angry at the cruelty of the story that depicts a cruel universe which lets people cruelly be murdered (just like our own). You're justifying your anger by talking about the particular details of the depiction -- but I think you're just bloody angry at the murder itself, like Harry is, not anything else.

If that's the case I think the story has been successful in making you feel Harry's anger, though you're misdirecting it. Authors that write honestly end up writing about the moral universe of consequences which they believe exists. An atheist like G.R.R. Martin couldn't write Lord of the Rings, and a Christian like Tolkien couldn't have written Game of Thrones. And this is the story that Eliezer Yudkowsky has to write.

Details like "in the canon the troll was much weaker" seriously shouldn't be affecting your emotional reaction, especially when it's clear that the troll has been boosted in power even in-story (so that it'd be impervious to sunlight), so it was clearly murder and targetted assassination, not just a random troll than randomly attacked Hermione.

3Ritalin7yGoT is absurdly dark, though. Things like that have happened in history, but not so compressed in time. After I found out about the Red Wedding, I gave up on the entire thing, I found myself completely losing interest. "I don't know why you think seeing the fight from her side would have made it feel better for you." I anticipate that I would. If I had to venture a hypothesis as to why, I'd guess that I would have shared her struggle, her despair, and her eventual acceptance of death. Part of me would have struggled, failed, and died with her. Inability to help oneself is much more acceptable than inability to help others. And, of course, seeing the fight from her perspective would have given me time to get it into my skull that she really was going to die, before she did.

GoT is absurdly dark, though. Things like that have happened in history, but not so compressed in time.

This is historically inaccurate. GoT is fairly accurate for the time period depicted (it is based loosely on the War of the Roses). It is practically lighthearted compared to the vast majority of human history.

After I found out about the Red Wedding, I gave up on the entire thing, I found myself completely losing interest.

The Red Wedding, like most of GoT, is based on a historical analogy with the War of the Roses. Specifically, it is a combination of the Battle of Heworth Moor, where a wedding party was warned in advance of an ambush and managed to hire enough mercenaries to survive, and the Black Dinner, where the leaders of a clan were invited to dinner, then slaughtered.

8Risto_Saarelma7yI thought it was a neat bit of subversion where something that would be a joke speed bump mid-boss in Industry Standard Storytelling ends up straight up killing you instead because things work more like reality here and it's ten times as big as you and made of magic.
6derefr7yWould you want to give the reader closure for the arc of a character who is, as the protagonist states, going to be coming back to life? Personally, this reminds me more than anything of Crono's death in Chrono Trigger. Nobody mourns him--mourning is something to do when you don't have control over space and time and the absolute resolve to harness that control. And so the audience, also, doesn't get a break to stop and think about the death. They just hurl themselves, and their avatar, face-first into solving it.
4bramflakes7yI'm feeling really confused at this comment. When I read the chapter I thought to myself "Oh. Hermione died. Big plot twist, what will the characters do next?" And not much more than that. I don't know whether I'm emotionally stunted but I find it extremely difficult to conceive of someone having such a visceral emotional reaction to a fictional character's death.
3NancyLebovitz7yI was wondering whether a lot of exposure to superhero comics could have that effect, since very little (nothing at all?) is permanent in them.
2Ritalin7yLikewise, I find myself shocked when I meet people who don't care about fictional characters the way I do.
4CAE_Jones7yI got the strong impression that there was more contrived there (in-universe) than the simple matter of the troll catching Hermione when she was out. The amount of time that passes between Harry injecting her and Dumbledore's arrival doesn't seem to be long enough for the effects of the oxygenation to fail. (Will have to reread / research brain death to be sure I'm not jumping at shadows. It does seem that magic, at least, has concluded for sure that she's dead, and Harry doesn't seem likely to have time to save her even if magic is mistaken and she has a couple more minutes before her brain is irrepairably damaged (the time turner feats would be frankly badass if he could pull it off).) All of which leads me to believe that Quirrel (or whoever was behind it) took measures to make sure that there was no hope of saving her short of phoenix tears, unless they took precautions against even those, somehow.
4TimS7yAlternative explanation: Magic oxygenation shots don't work because the inventors did not understand biology, just like the inventors of broomsticks did not understand physics.
6Ritalin7yAll of the above, and more. He didn't just stuff her into the fridge after an entire story of not-measuring-up, and a chapter of bonding and future plans. He killed her off-screen, and then gave us false hope of saving her. And he has the gall to imply that this is Harry's fault for trying to be sensible, for expecting too much of normal people, and for not thinking to use his Patronus. It felt contrived, cruel, and uncaring. "Let's get her out of the way and give Harry a motivation" is the feeling one gets. It was fucking bridge-dropping, is what it was.

It is bridge dropping, and I love it. We are being given a taste of a dark rationalist, who does not give his enemies dramatic deaths where they get to die like heroes, perhaps accomplishing something through it. When a dark rationalist takes control of the story (or rather, starts to use the control over the story he's always had), the story becomes contrived, cruel and uncaring, as it should. It's realism.

We are being given a taste of a dark rationalist, who does not give his enemies dramatic deaths where they get to die like heroes, perhaps accomplishing something through it.

See also Fate/zero & Kuritsugu. And note that it's not just Hermione's death that is fast and cruel, it's the troll's too: Harry steps forward with the stone, stuffs it in, releases it to explode the head, and acidifies the brains in less time than it takes to type that.

Actually, there's a great rationality quote for here:

Getting caught up in style and throwing away victory is something for the lower ranks to do. Captains can't even think about doing such a carefree thing. Don't try to be a good guy. It doesn't matter who owes who. From the instant they enter into a war, both sides are evil.

And he has the gall to imply that this is Harry's fault for trying to be sensible

Harry thinks this. In general it's not a good idea to assume that authors agree with everything their characters think, and Eliezer has explicitly pointed this out on several occasions.


I think this was deliberate. Have you read the piece Eliezer wrote about his brother?

Well. That went poorly.

There isn't any reason to accept it, not when there's magic in the world.

Harry has direct sensory evidence that souls are real, but it doesn't look like that's updated his sense of what is and isn't possible yet. I feel more and more trepidation.

5DanielLC7yYou say that like having an immortal soul, a major part of your mind that can survive literally anything, would make it harder to revive the dead.
3Qiaochu_Yuan7yI'm not sure what this is referring to. Ghosts? Harry currently thinks those are magical echoes.
4Vaniver7yReread the event in question. (I'm trying to keep the start of my comments a little unspoilery, since they show up in the recent comments sidebar.) In the universe where souls do not exist and people are just electrical activity embodied in lipid computers, that description and it triggering Dumbledore's immediate arrival seem very unlikely. In the universe where souls do exist, it seems very likely.
3drethelin7yHe felt something "happen" when Hermione died and Dumbledore also confirmed it. It might just be a magical echo but it's definitely evidence for something like a soul.
5CAE_Jones7yThis is true, but without further investigation, it fails to distinguish the world where souls are independent from physical form from the world where souls are magical echoes/uploads/backups/etc. On that note, this would be one convenient time for Quirrel to drop in and say "Oh, by the way, that description of the Resurrection Stone you gave me turned up something interesting..."

I'm tentative to make predictions here since, reading through comments, I consider you folks more grounded in rationality, logical thinking and also fictional predictions than me. But I wanted to share a thought and get feedback, so here goes.

My interpretation of the big magical release goes like this: Hermione's brain, experiences, knowledge, magical ability, etc., are programmed via the genetic magic marker to upload into... something. The Atlantean Neural Database, or something like that. We've got reason to believe that magic was artificially create... (read more)

I predict that Harry will save many or all people who ever died from oblivion with magic that reaches backward through time to capture the mind of each person at the point of their death.

I further predict that this magic will create the mechanism of magic, possibly incidentally, and be responsible for the sort of Atlantis that magical Britons believe in.

I speculate that magic and ghosts are unintended byproducts of Harry's Afterlife Immortality Project.

Harry is an anti-death hero. Whatever villains he may encounter, his enemy is death and his heroic victo... (read more)

Not wanting to give anything away, I would remind you that what we have seen of Harry so far in the story was intended to resemble the persona of an 18-year-old Eliezer. Whatever Harry has done so far that you would consider to be "Beyond The Impossible", take measure of Eliezer's own life before and after a particular critical event. I would suggest that everything Harry has wrought until this moment has been the work of a child with no greater goal--and that, whatever supporting beams of the setting you feel are currently impervious to being kn... (read more)

a) Quirrel.



Yes, but only if he wants it to be an extinction event. I'm reasonably confident that HPMoR Voldemort does not want the same things as canon Voldemort. In fact, I give it at least a 50% probability that "Voldemort" was a false flag operation from the get go to achieve some other goal, e.g. uniting wizard-kind against muggle threats.

It's also possible that to Harry, 'tricky transfiguration weapon' is more mentally available than 'THE KILLING CURSE'. Also, for the same reason, Harry might not have learned it.

Not quite the Red Wedding, but close.

I'm pretty sure that was hyperbole.

First, I have to get the emotional reaction out of the way: holycrap!

Now that that's done, is the last time we've heard about the Marauders' Map when Dumbledore borrowed it to search for Tom Riddle? I don't remember off hand whether that was after TSPE or in Taboo Tradeoffs.

I'm a little perplexed at how Harry's medical treatment didn't seem to work; it sounded like it should have bought several minutes, but the action that followed didn't seem like it could have taken more than 60 seconds. I've only read it the once through, so I could be missing it comple... (read more)

Re Marauders' Map: Quirrell pretty obviously has it. He obliviated the Weasley twins and took it. This is just the smart thing for him to do.

Note how he's burning straight through to the melee with the troll at the end of Ch. 89 - so he knows exactly where and in what direction Harry and Hermione are. This could also be because of the psychic link, but it also increases the probability he has the map.

3pjeby7yAlternative hypothesis: this is one of several things done by a time traveller creating a consistent time loop. If they had the map, it would have shown Hermione in two places, or else not where she was being attacked. In this scenario, the twins were temporarily obliviated about the map, just so they wouldn't use it. But they still have the map. The disappearance of the map is actually one of the few clues that IMO raises the probability that a time loop is already in progress, besides the ELIZA discussion with "Brienne". Harry also knows that the time turner prohibition can be defeated, with assistance from an adult wizard; his likely next effort (after securing Hermione's body for possible revival) would be to find another way to circumvent both the use prohibition and Time itself. But I guess we'll find out in a few hours. (Squee!) (Not an actual prediction, but it would be awesome if this somehow turns out to be Hermione deliberately faking her own death to assume a cover identity. Among other things, it would be a compelling answer to the "stuffed in a fridge" trope allegations. Not as powerful -- but still more fair to Hermione than the status quo -- would be a flashback that shows her heroically taking on the troll in order to protect someone else, rather than just being a victim. She at least deserves her own epic batlle scene, even if the story requires it appear only in flashback.)
3[anonymous]7yHypothesis: Time-Turned Harry has it.
3Vaniver7yMy understanding is that once shock is refractory [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shock_(circulatory\]#Refractory), there is no turning back (in particular, oxygenation at that stage is useless). I'm not familiar enough with the medicine to know if it's reasonable for her to progress that far that quickly, but my layman's guess is "probably."

My friend and I were emailing about this update. I asked her for her opinion on it and whether or not she liked it. Here are her thoughts:

"Yeeah, I kind of don't. I posted this review on it yesterday (after quietly fuming for a bit):

If this had been Neville or someone, I'd be commending you on how you handled the emotion here, but as it is I was too annoyed and appalled that you were damseling and then fridging fricking Hermione while halfheartedly suggesting she put up an offscreen fight to be able to appreciate it.

I'm not easily annoyed with fridgin... (read more)

9IsaacWheeland7yI emailed back, and she elaborated: "Oh, no, my issue is not with the fact that Eliezer killed a female character for Harry's motivation. Like I said, I like character death. I like character death used to put other characters through an emotional rollercoaster. And when people complain that X is sexist because a female character got fridged, that annoys me because while the trend is an issue, there is nothing wrong or sexist with an individual instance of a character who happens to be female dying for a character who happens to be male. It actually kind of surprised me on a meta level that I was so mad - I have never been annoyed by an individual instance of fridging before. But the issue here is with the context in this particular instance. Your argument that it had to happen this way is flawed, because it assumes the story prior to the exact point of Hermione's death was fixed and out of Eliezer's hands. I don't have a problem with Eliezer killing Hermione, in itself - but if he was going to, he should have either not given her this character arc in the first place or completed the arc first in a way that gives at least some vague kind of closure. He could also have killed Neville if he wanted to - he'd just have needed to develop Harry's relationship with Neville in such a way that it would make sense as a motivator, instead of (or along with) his relationship with Hermione. And it's not as if he suddenly realized here after writing the story up to this point that he needed to kill Hermione in order for it to work out - the trigger warnings page has noted that the next chapter with a trigger warning would be called "The Bystander Effect" (he notes specifically on chapter 88 that the original title was "Bystander Apathy", clearly as a way of alerting those who have been watching out for the next triggery chapter that this is it) since August 2010. This was planned. He knew exactly how he was going to kill Hermione, and he had all the time in the world to plan o

He touched it. In chapter 56 or 55, I forget which, Harry had to wear a glove to ride the room that Quirrell enchanted. In chapter 89, he picks up the troll by the ear.

4ikrase7yI don't think that Harry actually knows for sure that he couldn't touch the broom.

What does self-inflicted Imperius do

The cure to procrastination?

... On a side note.

Hermione Granger, of House Potter, at great cost to House Potter, was just killed on Potter's watch.

Why are people here reacting like Hermione is perma-dead?

I get that they'd act that way on reddit, but people here actually believe and sign up for cryonics. Harry's got a whole team of Alcor cryonic specialists right in his wand. And if he can't manage the magic, Dumbledore can. Hermione's soul and magic may have exploded in an impressive lightshow, but her brain is still fully oxygenated and hasn't even begun to decompose.

Everything that makes her her is still doing fine.

(And on a meta level, Elizer knows that fictional examples are strong drivers of behavior. A fictional example of cryonics working would be big for cryonics adoption.)

Harry's brain suggested that an obvious way to stop the Dementors from seeing Bellatrix was to make her stop existing, i.e., kill her. Harry congratulated his brain on thinking outside the box and told it to continue searching. Kill her and then bring her back, came the next suggestion. Use Frigideiro to cool Bellatrix down to the point where her brain activity stops, then warm her up afterward using Thermos, just like people who fall into very cold water can be successfully revived half-an-hour later without noticeable brain damage. Harry considered this. Bellatrix might not survive in her debilitated state. And it might not stop Death from seeing her. And he'd have trouble carrying a cold unconscious Bellatrix very far. And Harry couldn't remember the research on which exact body temperature was supposed to be nonfatal but temporarily-brain-halting.

from http://hpmor.com/chapter/56

3Xachariah7yHe's familiar with cryonics then, or at least the concept of suspended animation. The next line implies that he'd have used the plan if he didn't immediately think up a better one. Any plan he comes up with to save Hermione has to be at least as likely to succeed as cryonics.
7David_Gerard7yStuffed Into The Fridge, indeed.
2linkhyrule57yBecause the old ancient wizard has reason to believe souls exist, which means that while it's probably possible to keep Hermione's body functioning, there's "a burst of something... too vast to be understood" that's just gone missing. Mind, that doesn't stop someone from figuring out a way anyway. Harry certainly plans to. It just makes things significantly more difficult.

Prediction for Chapter 90: Time Pressure, Part 3:

"Wait a moment," you say. "Time Pressure, Part 3? Harry already lost his race against the clock. Why would Chap. 90 be called 'Time Pressures'?"

Because Harry's race against the clock to save Hermione's life has only just begun, and he has slightly less than six hours left. Eliezer mentioned that one of his most significant purposes of Chap. 86 was to update characters' states of knowledge before the next arc. If you recall, in that chapter, Harry learned the word "horcrux."... (read more)

6diagramchaser7yWhile I consider this unlikely, it would help explain the scene with Hermione's soul seemingly leaving her body. As far as I remember the characters who deaths seems we saw in canon didn't have this effect and having a Horocrux would differentiate Hermione from them.
3bramflakes7yI'm not capable of reasoning about time loops in my sleep-deprived state, but would it be possible for Hermione to create her Horcrux by killing herself?
7JoshuaZ7yYes: Consider the following loop: Hermione A goes and kills future Hermione B (who already has a horcrux). Hermione A is then killed by the troll, but has a horcrux (possibly with a mind wipe before so she doesn't know about it). Hermione is then A is then resurrected to be sent back in time to become Hermione B. Then Hermione B is resurrected. However, we know that messing with time is bad and we know that magic with souls is powerful, so this combination looks potentially very dangerous.
2Vladimir_Nesov7yMore generally, if resurrection doesn't require additional sacrifices and doesn't use up a horcrux, people who don't have horcruxes could make them by murdering other people (by arrangement) who already have one (and then resurrecting them). Eventually, everyone is alive and has a horcrux.
2gwern7yPredicted with what probability [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/19900]?
2elharo7yI can't see either Harry or Hermione going along with a Horcrux ritual. Just too evil and out of character for both of them. Given the title and some other hints in the story, I think use of a time turner is inevitable; but whatever Harry does it won't involve a Horcrux.
3Alejandro17yNot out of character for Harry; in fact, it would be perfectly in character for him. But Hermione would never go for it.
2ikrase7yI thought that horcruxing required mens rhea.
2David_Gerard7yMens rea [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mens_rea], and yes.

a form of viewing screen scry on the desks of a large classroom.

I believe this was specifically put there by Quirrel, who does keep track of muggle accomplishments.

Time Pressure - the arc title - could also be a reference to the book of the same name by Spider Robinson.

Rot 13 Spoilers for Time Pressure and other Lifehouse/Deathkiller novels By SR:

Va guvf obbx frevrf, gvzr geniryyref jvgu fhssvpvragyl nqinaprq grpuabybtl tb onpx va gvzr gb renqvpngr qrngu creznaragyl ol erpbeqvat nyy uhzna oenva fgngrf nf gurl qvr guebhtubhg nyy bs uvfgbel fb gung gur pna nyy or erfheerpgrq ntnva va gur shgher, pbaprnyvat gung gurl'er qbvat guvf gb cerirag grzcbeny cnenqbkrf. Gur pbasyvpgf bs gur abiryf frg va guvf frdhrapr nevfr jur... (read more)

Is it just me or has no one in the story really considered that Quirrell = mort? Like, why does the hypothesis that Quirrell = Grindelwald briefly come up first? Why is everyone blindly trusting him even when they think he might be responsible for some of the bad stuff going on? It seems like everyone is doing some serious mental gymnastics to avoid considering that he is actually seriously evil (esp. Hogwarts faculty and Harry).

9William_Quixote7yYeah. One thing that’s very striking if you read through it while thinking about motivated cognition is just how often words to the effect of “Harry ignored his sense of doom and …” show up. Its really shocking, Harry explicitly and actively ignores a strong sense of doom several times per chapter.
4Qiaochu_Yuan7yYes, I think someone's been tampering with their minds in this respect. It's bizarre that at least Dumbledore or maybe Snape hasn't considered this (Harry doesn't think Voldemort's alive, and McGonagall is engaging in motivated cognition so she can keep Quirrell around to teach as long as possible). Maybe it's related to the curse on the Defense Against the Dark Arts position.
2elharo7yDoes Harry believe Voldemort is dead? I thought he learned he was alive way back in Chapter 6:
2Qiaochu_Yuan7yHarry expresses a lot more skepticism than that a lot more recently. Chapter 86 [http://hpmor.com/chapter/86]: And:

Ha, interesting take. That last sentence was not actually an endorsement of horrible murderous things happening, it was just my way of saying "Now let's get down to business" about the home stretch of the story.

4roystgnr7yThanks for the clarification! I retract my objections. As for the common criticism, although I'm as adamant as the next person here that "p=1" is impossible without infinite evidence, I don't think that fact demands that every casual conversation must quantify "1 minus epsilon" or even explicitly acknowledge it.

Cryonics doesn't work on someone that's already dead

What about all the people who signed up to get frozen after they die?

4Qiaochu_Yuan7yPoint, I wasn't carefully distinguishing between legal / clinical death and information-theoretic death. But I think there is reason (namely the magical echo) to believe that Hermione is currently information-theoretically dead, or at the very least has lost her magic.
7Alsadius7yDo you think Harry would care even the tiniest bit about her losing her magic if she came back to life?

I mean... yes, but not enough to not bring her back to life.

2Desrtopa7yI find it somewhat unlikely that this magical echo is supposed to equate to information-theoretic death if it occurred within a span of seconds after Hermione was still capable of talking.

Harry knows how smart Quirrell is, and he knows that if it occurred to him that the troll was an attempt on Hermione's life, it would have occurred to Quirrell instantly. We (and Harry) know that Quirrell said nothing to McGonagall, from which Harry will soon infer that Quirrell could have saved Hermione yet did nothing. (Which makes it likely, but not certain, that it was Quirrell who was behind the troll.) In either case Quirrell has reached a point, or is about to reach a point, in his sinister plan where it no longer matters (or perhaps even require... (read more)

7Decius7yIt's also possible/likely that the Malfoy household is either involved, or believes that one of their allies is involved, in a revenge killing.

From canon, and from what nearly happened to Hermione, it is clear that one can be sent to Azkaban while innocent.

What do you want to bet on that? I'd assign your hypothesis an around 35% chance.

7jimrandomh7yOk, there's lots of room between our estimates (35% and 85%) to bet. I propose taking the arithmetic mean of our respective estimates, and betting at 3:2 odds; so I offer $12 against your $8. Offer valid until the next chapter is posted (Jul 1 7pm PST), void if not accepted (by replying with a comment) before then.
2JoshuaZ7ySounds good. Offer accepted. Also, this will either way give me a reason to show up to the next Boston meetup (assuming you are still in the area), which is good because I've been busy with other things.

High-confidence prediction: Chapters 88-89 are Snape's doing.

6Qiaochu_Yuan7yWhat? Snape has been trying to set up Hermione as a heroine. What does he gain by luring her to her death?

"Your books betrayed you, Potter," said Severus, still in that voice stretched tight by a million tons of pull. "They did not tell you the one thing you needed to know. You cannot learn from stories what it is like to lose the one you love. That is something you could never understand without feeling it yourself."

from http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5782108/27/Harry-Potter-and-the-Methods-of-Rationality

Note: I'm not sure Snape did it, my instinct is that this is the work of QQ. But Snape has reasons.

5gwern7yHow high confidence? http://predictionbook.com/predictions/19862 [http://predictionbook.com/predictions/19862]
3ChrisHallquist7ySurely you are joking? If not, I would be very happy to make a bet on that.
2jimrandomh7yI have updated strongly downward on this prediction based on chapters 90-94, especially 94.
[-][anonymous]7y 7

Captain Ron would be the ideal choice.

Huh. It seems like a lot of people in this discussion are convinced that Hermione is dead and will stay dead. I agree that she is probably currently quite dead; however, I assign a greater than 50 % probability that she will somehow be resurrected.

My prediction: Harry will convince a reluctant Dumbledore to put Hermione's body under some sort of stasis spell (cue discussion of cryonics) while he researches ways to revive her. The resurrection plot will resolve the question whether the HPMoR-verse is reductionist or if there is a body/soul dichotomy (my bet is on the former).

The problem with the Time-Turner approach is that (given what we understand of the Time-Turner's rules) he'd have to somehow fool first-iteration Harry (and Fred and George) in order to avoid a paradox. The Methods universe is full of tales of time-turning gone wrong; since saving lives is one obvious application of the Time-Turner, Dumbledore surely knows exactly what he can and cannot get away with in that respect.

Bearing in mind that Eliezer consistently foreshadows important events, let's brainstorm what Harry might do to end the world.

First, ritual magic and Dark rituals have played a prominent role in the story. Dark rituals have been mentioned over and over, and it's been emphasized that they are dangerous and powerful.

A magic ritual, much like a magic potion, seems to achieve much more than a spell. In my opinion this is probably because of the same conservation law by which potionmaking uses a small amount of magic to unlock the power already in some sens... (read more)

2Ritalin7yIt would be nice if there were rituals described other than Ask'Enthe. I also wonder if MOR verse has an actual Death anthopomorphic personification, apart from the Dementors, spawned by Magic. I also wonder what EY's opinion on the way Death is portrayed in Discworld is.

You could have gotten almost the same result if you had killed Neville without the gender issues.

Only if he had already been writing a yaoi fic... If he killed off Neville, no one would care and he'd open up a can of plot worms ("why Neville? Why not Hermione?").

3JoshuaZ7yOn the contrary, I think Neville could be far more poignant. Hermione wanted to be a heroine independent of Harry, because she has those sorts of cultural goals. Neville only started acting remotely brave because of Harry's influence.

Someone please bet this man.

Maybe this is the moment to ask why Hermione isn't already the hero of HP:MOR. If the point of HP:MOR is that someone who is smart and rational (and raised by smart/rational muggles) would immediately find a million holes in the Potter-verse, why not start with the character who is already known to be the smart one, and is at least a bit more rational than canon Harry? Sure, there's some issues with the prophesies -- but (rot13 for spoiler) Hayhaqha had a pretty good solution to that.

He now has a ring on his hand without a jewel. He could put Hermione there.

How romantic, in a very... Well, something.

I mean... "keeping your best female friend's dead body on a ring on your finger"...

3gwern7yAs it happens, I was reading the The Black Company dark fantasy series lat month; one of the powerful wizards in it, Shifter (he's a shapeshifter specialist) goes around with a staff carved into a beautiful woman - which was originally just that. He's a quasi-insane evil villain. So... the fantasy precedents aren't that great, I guess I am saying.

Remember, HPMOR is a rationalist story. There there are not meant to be red herrings.

I don't quite see why. Real world contains a lot of those.

3Alsadius7yPuzzles don't, and EY has stated that he thinks of HPMOR as a solvable problem.

Moody said the slippery slope was due to killing, not due to casting the curse, and Harry still killed the troll. Quote:

Moody shook his head slightly. "One of the dark truths of the Killing Curse, son, is that once you've cast it the first time, it doesn't take much hate to do it again."

"It damages the mind?"

Again Moody shook his head. "No. It's the killing that does that [emphasis mine]. Murder tears the soul - but that's just the same if it's a Cutting Hex. The Killing Curse doesn't crack your soul. It just takes a cracked soul

... (read more)
3William_Quixote7yHarry also kills chickens, cows, and whatever was in that chili they serve at Mary’s Room and more. To Harry a troll isn’t people. Killing it won’t break his soul.
3[anonymous]7yBut it was also said: Killing the troll was for the greater good so this might not count as soul-cracking murder. But then there's also 'giving himself over fully to the killing intention' which might count.
2taelor7yAre trolls sentient/sapient? Does killing one carry the same moral/psychological weight as killing a human? Cononically, they are able to comunicating using a system of grunts, though we don't know enough about it to tell if this is a true language, or merely a call system. We also know that some trolls can understand a few human words, but so can dogs.

Humans can still be just hardware with a soul. API calls to the cloud.

4Vaniver7ySure- but in a world where souls are immortal and connections can be easily be restored, that sort of resurrection would be likely to already exist. Its absence suggests its impossibility.

In a world with immortal souls, Harry's Patronus goes to find Hermione now. Yes, we can invent reasons why that would fail. Its failure would/will still provide more evidence in the other direction.

In a world with immortal souls, Harry's Patronus goes to find Hermione now.

That is an experimental test I would very much like to see Harry try.

For years, when trying to explain just how easy it is to break D&D 3.5 specifically, my example has always been a 5th level transmutation wizard with shrink item, mage hand, a twenty thousand pound rock and 100d6 of falling object dammage.... And somehow, I managed to not see that coming. I wonder if EY's falling rock idea originally came from D&D.

3Fhyve7yWasn't exactly a falling rock, more like a rapidly expanding jawbreaker.
2ikrase7yI predicted that the rock would be used in more or less this way, although I expected it would be used as a projectile by accelerating the ring to a high speed at an enemy and then Finite Incantatem.

Mild evidence against is that Time Turners were (apparently) used to save a life in canon, namely Buckbeak's. Stronger evidence is that no use of a Time Turner in HPMoR has actually altered the timeline; to the extent that there are rules I would expect them to be much more general than that. "Can't save a life" is a deeply inelegant rule. It doesn't cut the universe at its joints.

575th7yCan't tell by your phrasing here whether you're aware of this or not, but no use of a Time Turner in canon altered the timeline, either. Everything that Harry and Hermione did while time-turned was exactly what the trio saw the first time through. That part of HPMoR's time travel rules are identical to canon's, just more thoroughly explained.
4Vaniver7yOn-screen deaths have happened, and thus cannot be altered. Off-screen deaths might not have actually been deaths, and thus can be altered.

Harry should be screaming at Dumbledore to use his time-turner. There are a lot of options, constrained mostly by the necessity of seeing a Hermione-looking-thing die.

"I've already used it six times today, Harry..."

[-][anonymous]7y 10

In HPMOR, time travel obeys the Novikov self-consistency principle (with the exception of liberal use of deus ex machina to keep it from being over-powered). If it were possible for Harry to use a time-turner to save Hermione, she wouldn't have died in the first place.

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5nebulous7yI'd wondered why no one used a time-turner the moment they knew a troll was loose. Even if Dumbledore had already used up his hours, another professor could've used some form of priority magical communication to call for aurors to travel six hours into the past, swiftly prepare to deal with a Hogwarts-attacking troll, and teleport to the site. Then I realized that Quirrell could prevent all attempts to stop the troll using time travel by exploiting the restriction against information traveling back more than six hours, i.e. by waiting until six hours after he wanted the attack to start, traveling back six hours, and initiating the attack.
[-][anonymous]7y 5

"Time Pressure" is a pun! Somewhere previously, prophecies were described as being caused by a sort of pressure built up on time, and TP2 ends in a prophecy.

Or an issue of how most humans are not willing to signal extreme utilitarianism because it is used easily to portray people as cold and hard. Moreover, most humans don't distinguish between "things I say for signaling" and "things I say because I believe them." So there are a lot of reasonable explanations for this without it being mindkilling. Also, some people really are just deontologists. Not being willing to answer such a question makes a lot more sense if one has a deontological rule that rape is always bad and wrong.

5Qiaochu_Yuan7yThere's also the issue that talking about certain things in public in a particular way (and the internet counts as public) causes actual mental harm to people.

It appears Quirrell now believes Harry has used the killing curse. Applying Story Logic, this misjudgement of Harry will lead to Terrible Bad Consequences for Quirrell.

Some ramblings before ch90: Quirrell will not learn the truth of how Harry killed the troll, since Dumbledore will memory charm the Weasely brothers (they saw Harry's patronus) and thus discover that their minds have been tampered with (by Quirrell). Suspecting Quirrell, Dumbledore will also erase the Weasely brothers' memories of how Harry actually killed the troll. Quirrell will not actual... (read more)

2Ritalin7yOne look at the troll's supine body should clear that misconception. Didn't he reach the site by the end of the chapter?
4gwern7yA close read indicates that he probably hasn't - he seems to be somewhere in the middle of Hogwarts, burning through walls, and abruptly stops once the troll is killed, and not actually present. And while he does respect Harry's ability, an AK is probably the most parsimonious explanation for 'how did Harry just kill an enchanted adult troll in a few seconds?'
3shminux7yI doubt it. Quirrell knows that, with high probability, no one taught Harry AK. There are other ways Harry could know it, for example from his memories of Lily and Voldemort using it, or through the link, or by remembering Quirrell doing it in Azkaban, but this seems like a stretch. On the other hand, Quirrell knows that Harry can be extremely inventive and extremely deadly when he means to. Also, I don't see why Eliezer would need this twist for the rest of the plot.

Hmm. It seems highly likely that the troll was timeturned back six hours itself in order to prevent people using time turning against it - given the amount of prep work that went into this (sabotaging Hermoine's kit, lifting the map, making her miss that meal. sun proofing it...) it would be a major oversight to not do that. Of course, that limits the suspect pool to people who know about time turning. From our perspective, all relevant suspects do, but in universe, this probably does rule out people. For example, if means Lucius may in fact know that it was not one of his minions getting overly ambitious.

2Estarlio7yHow would moving the troll back in time six hours prevent people from going back six hours to kill it in the past?

It does, but I interpreted it as Harry having to wrestle himself back towards acknowledging the painful fact of Hermione's injuries, as opposed to flinching away.

Rita Skeeter came before Dumbledore borrowed the map, and Fred and George's comments on the glitches were in a context where revealing them to be Rita Skeeter would have made sense (or at least, revealing it by now). It's strongly implied that they just paid someone (my guess is Lockheart) to false-memory charm Skeeter. This points away from the same charmer being behind the Rita Skeeter prank and obliviating the twins' memories of the map; the charmer in Rita Skeeter's case is apparently ridiculously competent (one reason I suspect Lockheart), whereas the twins' recent obliviation was fairly crude.

Someone should cast a chain-Imperius , commanding the victim to:

1) Not attack anyone else subject to these rules 2) Imperius anyone not subject to these rules, and subject them to these rules 3) Inform your enchanter of any plans you know of that might hinder the grand Imperius effort.

It's established in Rowling!Cannon that the spell can be chained, and Harry has probably read the GNU manifesto, so he should have these sorts of ideas.

A liberal arch-wizard might object that this would reduce the entire world to a dull statis of mindless servitude:


... (read more)
2glomerulus7yThis only qualifies as a sane response if one has no ethical qualms about the Imperius curse. Which is a bit of a problem, because most sane people wouldn't like the idea. Putting aside the sketchiness of the idea itself, it's flawed. If any zombie high on the chain dies or makes their will-save, every zombie subservient to them is freed, and has knowledge of the Grand Imperius Effort. If, before the experience, they hadn't had strong feelings either way about nonconsensual use of mind-effecting spells, they certainly will afterwards; everyone post-zombie is likely to oppose the plan. I suppose you could ameliorate the first bit of the first part of the practical problem by sequestering high-level zombies so they don't die, and the rest with sufficient use of propaganda. This assumes that this program is endorsed by a quite powerful organization. If we assume control of a powerful organization, though, it'd be more effective, and slightly less hideously unethical, just to sterilize all magicians and eliminate the "devastating, distributed destructive powers of magic" in a generation or two. Or write an Interdict of MerLarks to encompass all non-healing spells.

After devising a plan for a GNU world order, it's only logical to take the next step up into resilient W2W (Wizard-to-Wizard) networks: add a clause ordering Imperiused wizards to re-infect every 100th wizard they meet. This random crosslinking will convert the efficient yet fragile pyramidal hierarchy into a robust distributed graph.

It was a surprisingly good day because he didn't intend Harry to try to rescue Hermione. Harry was supposed to find out about her death later. He couldn't be absolutely sure her death would have the precisely correct effect on Harry, either. It was surprisingly good because he got Dead Hermione and Dark Harry out of the deal; an expectedly good day would have been just getting the former.

Fred and George give Dumbledore the map way after they bust Rita Skeeter, so they had to have remembered the map existed for at least that long.

I count 30 Ticks, and then no more. Why doesn't the ticking continue, as Harry's still in the Great Hall (with the clock) for a while? Is this just arbitrary, or could the amount of Ticks given be somehow important, perhaps the time Harry would have had to arrive earlier in order to prevent Hermione's untimely death?

5shminux7yFrom Eliezer's facebook post: "Predictably" being an essential part: don't waste your time on what you know is not helpful.

There's some debate about whether the passage about Hermione's soulsplosion rules out becoming a Hogwarts-anchored ghost. I have offered a bet to chaosmosis (LW, Reddit) on Reddit on this topic - I am skeptical of any ghosts.

chlorine trifluoride

See this and just about everything else in that blog's "things I won't work with" category, which is hilarious (though there are a few links you might not want to follow if easily upset, notably the one about dimethyl mercury).

2gjm7yOh, and here's a video [http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=M4l56AfUTnQ] of ClF3 encountering various things and doing what it does. Usually with a bright flash, a bang, and some smoke.

EY, you are one thousand times worse than Joss Whedon.

3Alicorn7yDoes that mean that Joss Whedon is .0007 Alicorns mean [https://twitter.com/esynclairs/status/351142889306324992]?

He would have needed to kill somebody, possibly to have killed somebody with mens rhea

"Mens Rhea!" Is that the spell that makes someone think they're a huge bird that can't fly?

Are you objecting to a time travel argument because it is circular?! Of course it's circular, it's time travel. That's the thing about time travel, it makes causal circles. That's why it drives you insane to think about it.

3Baughn7yIt's about fixed-point solutions. Harry got "Do not mess with time" because he was willing, in that case, to send the same message back. If he hadn't been, he never would have received that message in the first place.

will have did

I'm not sure if I love or hate time-travel grammar. A little of both, I think.

[-][anonymous]7y 5

Why would Harry not send his Patronus to Dumbledore, or McGonagall in order to alert them that Hermione was in danger? Why would he not immediately time-turn (break the shell, it's supposed to be a deterrent and/or indication that you've obviously misused it, right?) before he had more information about what was going on?

I'm more upset now than when I read certain scenes in A Storm of Swords; I suppose congratulations are in order for that, but... damn. Do not want.

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6NancyLebovitz7yNot surprising-- it was clear from A Game of Thrones that Martin was writing That Sort of Universe, but HP:MOR has gone on for a much longer time (and possibly a higher proportion of the story) without that sort of death.
4MarkusRamikin7yDo not want, indeed. But as to time-turning, the shell would have been enchanted by someone stronger than him in magic, and I imagine he either couldn't do it at all, or couldn't do it without damaging the Time Turner itself.
4Qiaochu_Yuan7yMostly I think he was panicking. But I think he had reason to believe that they wouldn't react quickly enough and/or would force him not to look for Hermione. This I'm less clear about.

Ineffectual only if Quirrell helps, right?

6Decius7yHarry can do partial transfiguration.
4rocurley7yAhh. That does seem like it might work.
4Decius7yFor that matter, if Harry thought to try it in violation of most of the safety lecture, he might have better treated her. It depends on how much accurate biochemistry Harry knows- and what happens when CO2 transfigured into oxygen which burns more carbon refigures in the bloodstream. Although Harry has demonstrated the ability to sustain long transfigurations, I would say that it's reasonable that he thinks his medical supplies are more likely to work than experimental medical magic.

Harry has never successfully used a Time Turner to prevent something that has already happened.

It was (dark) humor. Hyperbole. Of course he's not going at 0.003c!

7[anonymous]7yAwww, I would have said it was (light) humor.

Let me use this opportunity to re-raise a question I've been puzzled about for awhile now: how does Harry win?

According to an author's note, we have "two major story arcs" left before the fic is finished. Eliezer also mentioned possibly doing a "solve this puzzle or the fic ends sad" thing, but implies he's at least going to give Harry a chance to win.

It's not certain what "two major story arcs" means in terms of story time, but it seems very likely that it at least means "before the start of the next Hogwarts school year... (read more)

If there are thousands of inmates at Azkaban, and the wizarding justice system is not always absolutely correct, even if then are only wrong a percent or two of the time, there are tens or even maybe hundreds of innocent prisoners of Azkaban. So, "not the usual outcome", is irrelevant, what matters is the numbers. But of course it doesn't hit as hard, and that is precisely because of the numbers. It is a bug in the human brain that one innocent person being ripped to death in front of you hurts a lot more than tens of innocent people being tortured to death out of sight, especially surrounded by thousands more people also being tortured to death who some say have lower moral priority.

And we never did hear back from her on that topic, did we?

Harry has shown again and again that he can't lose, and instead doubles-down. He did so with Hermione, and now Lucius has killed her. If people realise it's Lucius, all the better for him; nothing can be proved, but he shows himself to be extremely dangerous and willing to protect his family.

2wedrifid7yAll the better for him? You just told us why it is bad for him. Harry can't lose and instead doubles down. His accomplishments so far despite being about 10 years old and newly exposed to the wizarding world indicate that given time he will be a threat or at least a significant potential nuisance to Lucius in the future. If Harry knows that Lucius killed Hermione but cannot prove it basically Lucius is going to need to have Harry killed at some point in the future or have his life (and vulnerable resources) at risk for as long as Harry lives. This is not a desirable outcome. The reputation influence and aura of fear that you allude to would perhaps have made it useful to have Harry killed. Having Hermione outraged but unable to prove anything (may be) a minimal risk and would make Lucius seem more impressive. But Lucius is enough of a strategic thinker that he ought to know that creating a Harry with Nothing (or at least significantly less) To Lose and with a grudge against him isn't worthwhile. If he is going to use violence against that which Harry cares about he essentially needs to use violence to kill Harry of outright. If not then three years later he might find himself obliterated in his sleep by a satellite that has been pulled out of orbit and directed at his house.
2JoshuaZ7yWhat makes you think this was Lucius other than his basic motivation?

Of course, but the story has been very high on foreshadowing and low on red herrings to date, so I suspect that will continue.

"Lead it away, keep it off me," said a voice.

Harry, feeling disassociated from himself? No; a few seconds later we have

"Fire and acid!" Harry shouted. "Use fire or acid!"

Disassociated-Harry shows up later, I think, but that first call doesn't seem to be Harry's.

I think it is supposed to be Harry - before a voice said that, the text simply blanked out, refused to state what the troll held or the troll dropped. After the text explicitly states the state Hermione is in, then we get Harry's statement about fire and acid.

I'm betting Hermione is really, really dead (though Harry may yet resurrect her). However, remember that writing a story is often the inverse of reading it. It's like solving a maze by starting from the goal and working backward to the beginning: often much easier.

If (big if) Hermione is resurrected and/or not really dead, then Eliezer very likely started from a narrative goal of having Harry see Hermione's horrible but fake/reversible death and then worked backwards from there to make it happen. As readers we have the much tougher task of working forward ... (read more)

Cryonics doesn't work on someone that's already dead

? I wasn't aware cryonics had ever been done on someone that's already alive.

I think that's true, but I'd lean towards this discrepancy being a plot-point rather than a plot-hole.

I also don't think Harry can sustain a transfiguration like that for long without exhausting his limited supply of magical energy.

While I agree with the rest of the comment, this part is strictly false. We know that Harry can sustain a transfiguration roughly like that indefinitely, as evidenced by his father's rock.

All he would need to do is replace Hermione with a suitably transfigured/polyjucied/magicked rat to avoid the paradox.

I would imagine that "dying-soul-magic", or whatever that was, is impossible to fake (or, at least, really dang hard to) like prophecy magic.

Would someone in that state have any way of speaking? Or do we assume that the Law of Dramatic Death Scenes is written into a magician's powers?

The dramatic death scene was my interpretation, but I don't have much experience with people dying violently (thankfully). I don't know how realistic dramatic death scenes are or how much wizardly fortitude is worth.

5loup-vaillant7yRecalling a video I have seen (forgot the source), the actual damage wouldn't occur upon hypoxia, but upon re-oxygenation. Lack of oxygen at the cellular level does start a fatal chemical reaction, but the structure of the cells are largely preserved. But when you put oxygen back, everything blows up (or swells up, actually). Harry may very well have killed Hermione with his oxygen shot. If he froze her before then, it might have worked, but after that… her information might be lost. One obvious objection: Hermione was still concious enough to say some last words, ruling out advanced brain de-oxygenation. That could be only for the drama, but still. One obvious consequence: that magic feeling upon death might be linked to plain muggle information-theoretic death somehow. But then, we have horcrucxes and Avada Kedavra… I'm quite confused by HPMOR's "laws of physics".

Wizards have souls. - their minds are running on more than just wetware. I am fairly certain of this, because otherwise shape shifting would be instantly fatal.

McGonagall is savvy enough to know that the current defense professor is at fault for something like this; Quirrell pushed his luck in manipulating her into taking the actions she did, including providing him a single point of false-memory charm to an alibi for whatever he needs to do (including stealing a time-turner, meeting his future self, confirming that everything appears to will have gone well, and then going back to set up the scenario in the first place).

ETA: And even if it wasn't Malfoy & co, it is believable that they would think it was one of them.

It's implied that Quirrel expects Harry to have used it. It's what Quirrel should expect and even want, if he is behind the troll.

It seems ridiculous that Hogwarts doesn't have any kind of PA system, even schools in the 90's had that.

Also, basically no kind of preparation for disasters at all even though they were in the middle of a war 10 years ago. They didn't even do head counts.

8NancyLebovitz7yThe wizarding world doesn't keep track of muggle accomplishments.

I think the elixir of life stops aging, not death from blood loss. Of course, if you can avoid paradoxes, traveling back in time and applying a tourniquet earlier would save her.

I would understand Dumbledore confiscating the map. But, if he were to confiscate it, he would do only that, not Obliviate the Weasleys such that they'd have no memory of ever possessing such a map. It would seem cruel and pointless to him.

3Qiaochu_Yuan7ySuppose Dumbledore thinks his enemies aren't aware that the map exists. If he believes one of his enemies is a Legilimens and is periodically scanning the students' minds, he might not want to take the risk of them scanning the Weasley twins and discovering the existence of the map. But I admit I'm stretching at this point.
6Decius7yIf that enemy exists, he already knows.
4Benya7yUpvoted for qualifying the clever argument with the admission that it is a stretch.

Nah, not really. The Marauder's Map is the obvious thing to try when searching for someone in Hogwarts, he wouldn't release any information to the Weasleys. And, of course, Dumbledore does trust the Weasleys. It did suggest the Map to Quirrell as a device he'd want to confiscate, but it's not really in Dumbledore's nature to think that far ahead.

4maia7yI guess the question is, how many levels deep is Dumbledore playing? I think it's possible he's smart enough to predict that Voldemort would do this, and take the map away from them as a precaution. But not super likely. But other than that, I don't see a motivation for Dumbledore to confiscate it; he seems to like that the Weasleys have it. It's a token of Gryffindorishness, flouting the letter of the law to pull pranks and help out their friends or what have you. And Dumbledore likes that, I think.

(TVTropes warning!)

We find out he didn't trust Quirrel (as he tells Snape in flashback to keep an eye on Quirrel), I don't think we find out he knew Quirrel was being possessed by Voldemort.

[-][anonymous]7y 3

Trigger warning: comparisons involving rape

If you (generic “you”) must compare being raped to being cuckolded, you don't get to compare the least bad case of the former (“gentle, silent rape” of an unconscious woman leading to no physical injury, no STD, no pregnancy, and no memory) with one of the worst possible outcomes for the latter (your wife gets pregnant, gives birth to a child, and you never find out it's not yours until you've spent a bajillion dollars).

(I wish I could downvote myself.)

Edit: from the upvotes and the asterisk, it looks like I had a... (read more)

Quirrell can feel Harry's emotions. This can partially explain at least some of the cases when he unexpectedly realized what Harry was thinking (for instance, this probably gave him some information during their conversation about Parseltongue). It might be worthwhile to find all cases when they talked and Harry attempted to hide his emotions.

The thing is that PTSD is really not that binary, like many mental illnesses, it has a wide range of symptoms and severity levels. What Nancy is talking about is how one death can push one drastically over, skipping much of the middle range where it might be ambiguous if one had symptoms severe enough to be diagnoseable. (Disclaimer, while I've heard the same sort of things NancyLebovitz is talking about, I'm not aware of any studies actually supporting this.)

it opens at 9. he can go back as early as 3Pm.

What with the timey-wimey shenanigans in the writing and her brain not having spent too much time "dead" yet, I'm suspecting Hermione will yet live.

What with the show and Dumbledore's diagnosis, I'm suspecting Magic will continue to think her dead and thus her career as a witch being over (pending Harry hacking the Source of Magic).

Plus repercussions of the "Do not mess with time" kind.

Quirel has often stated his dislike of Harry holding back because of silly things like "morality" and "what others might think of him". As Draco said in an early chapter: when confronted with a complicated plot look at what ends up happening and assume it was the intended outcome. Harry went fully into his dark side, switched off his censors and killed the troll in about 5 seconds. Even if Harry stayed behind in the Great Hall and learned about Hermione's death later it would still make him go to his dark side like never before. This b... (read more)

Thank you for providing the subhuman masses an example of warmth and love. I am truly touched by your radiating compassion.

While I'm putting it at over 90% that Hermione will be resurrected somehow, someway, it doesn't need to be in his first year.

  1. The mana cost for incendio is probably much higher than a thin sheet of transfig.
  2. I think that incendio simply forms a blowtorch or igntes the outside of objects. Weaponized partial transfig will ALWAYS be more powerful than first-year spells at a first-year mana supply. Partial transfig can slice things up, which is what Harry needed to do.

Question: how emotionally plausible do people find Harry's reaction to Hermione's death?

In the Sorting Hat chapter, Eliezer gave us a very strong hint that Harry would very nearly turn dark at some point in this fic, and by the end of chapter 87 it seemed all but certain.

All the stuff pointing in the Harry-going-dark direction up til this point has felt very emotionally plausible. But... "He would rip apart the foundations of reality itself to get Hermione Granger back"? I'm having a hard time buying it.

And it invites some unflattering compariso... (read more)

I didn't see Harry going supervillain there. His thoughts seemed consistent with his overall goals so far: "become omnipotent and rewrite reality because I have some objections to the way it works now". It was just more dramatically stated this time. Because Harry was, you know, upset.

9ikrase7yI don't think he's neccesarily going full supervillian. It's not like Doctor Horrible, probably. More likely, he's going to demand additional resources and start looking for a way to seriously go munchkin with magic physics.
8elharo7yI think this is fully in keeping with his previous plan to tear down Azkaban, possibly at the cost of his own life, to save Hermione. It's just that right now he doesn't yet know what he needs to do to save her. In the previous arc he could be more specific. Also note that Harry does not see "rip apart the foundations of reality itself" as necessarily a bad thing. He's been planning to do that since the very early chapters anyway. Now he just needs to move his schedule forward a bit.
4Qiaochu_Yuan7yPlausible. If I thought I could rip apart the foundations of reality to get someone I care about back, I would probably at least try.
2NancyLebovitz7yHarry's smart enough to realize that he'll need to leave a good bit of reality in place for Hermione and himself to continue to exist and have the sort of lives they want. I don't think he's on the path to supervillainy if he can hold on to his sense of context.

"So," Harry said, "you know those really simple Artificial Intelligence programs like ELIZA that are programmed to use words in syntactic English sentences only they don't contain any understanding of what the words mean?"

"Of course," said the witch. "I have a dozen of them in my trunk."

Did she mean that she had muggle computer programs? Or did she mean some magical artifacts that work in the same way, or was this just a simple misunderstanding?

I interpreted that as a self-describing insult/conversation: "Do you know of ?" "Of course! ".

(I really hope Brienna or whomever didn't donate or anything to get that cameo. I would be completely mortified.)

4Eliezer Yudkowsky7yIt was meant to be a clever rejoinder by Brienne. I may need to rewrite if people are interpreting it this way.
6Alicorn7yI thought it was clever in a vaguely self-deprecating way. "I obviously have no way of knowing what that thing is, but I can be funny about it." This could probably be conveyed through tone - deadpan may be what you're looking for?
2Eliezer Yudkowsky7yThat is a good writing suggestion. I will take it. Thank you. EDIT: This isn't working when I try it: Makes it fall a bit flat for me compared to the original. Suggested rewrite? Or is it just me?
5Alicorn7ySometimes I use "deadpan" as a verb. "Of course," the witch deadpanned. "I have a dozen of them. In my trunk." (I think splitting the sentence may help.)
4Eliezer Yudkowsky7yI tried that one too. The problem I felt while reading it is that it... breaks up the humor? Like a THIS IS A JOKE sign?

Well, if people keep getting lost on the way to the joke, a sign might be useful.

3gwern7yI think you need to rewrite it; I still don't see how it is clever, rather than insulting. (If you're uncertain, I suggest private messaging a few random Redditors and asking them to summarize what they think that exchange meant.)
4Michelle_Z7yMichelle Morgan was mine! D:

I assumed that it was sarcasm.

5robryk7yThe thought didn't cross my mind and now that you've mentioned it it seems quite obvious. My sarcasm detector must be broken.
6loserthree7yShe was saying, "No, but it doesn't matter. Please go on."
5nebulous7yI thought she mostly understood his sentence (though of course she hadn't known about ELIZA beforehand) and owned a few magical items that could talk to a limited extent.

In HPMOR, portkeys do not work in Hogwarts (chapter 63).

Without getting into a tiresome analysis of identity theory, Quirrell is currently almost entirely Voldemort, while Harry has a little of the devil in him.

You'd polyjuice another human into Hermione. Thus, when the imposter dies, there would still be the "dying-soul-magic" of a human dying.

Does this sound like someone polyjuiced into Hermione to you?

There was a burst of something that was magic and also more, a shout louder than an earthquake and containing a thousand books, a thousand libraries, all spoken in a single cry that was Hermione; too vast to be understood, except that Harry suddenly knew that Hermione had whited out the pain, and was glad not to be dying alone.


Quirrell is grooming Harry to become as similar to himself as possible because he wants Harry to become his new permanent vessel/body ("Want you to rule!" - ehehe!).

He chose Harry because Harry already contains part of himself (hence the "resonance") and/or has a high innate potential for magic, and because the dark ritual for permanent possession requires a very high degree of "fidelity", of similarity between him and the host (in this case raw brainpower).

That's why his takeover of the original Quirrell isn't taki... (read more)

Trying to resurrect Hermione. Not sure how Harry would be able to resurrect /himself/, barring time shenanigans.

... now /that/ would be interesting. Trying to figure out how on earth you managed to resurrect yourself in the six hours before you show up.

Here's a miserable plot possibility. Hermione was concealed, something went wrong, and the feeling of her mind going past was because a number of other things happened, and the concealed Hermione was killed.

Neutral plot possibility: usually, dying minds aren't felt in the wizarding world. Something unusual was going on, and I don't know what it was.

2JoshuaZ7yThis seems unlikely. This would end up sounding a lot like "don't tamper with fate". That sort of thing is very common in time travel stories where someone tries to save someone's life, but it has a massively anti-transhumanist, pro-deathist vibe. I doubt Eliezer would do it.

He'd felt the boy give himself over fully to the killing intention. That was when the Defense Professor had begun burning through the substance of Hogwarts, trying to reach the battle in time.

What was he going to do when he got there in time?

The paragraph before that one suggests that Quirrell was trying to keep Harry alive. It seems to imply that he was trying to get to the battle in time to ensure that Harry does not get himself killed.

I thought it worked by size? I'm pretty sure that was stated earlier in the story. And I'd imagine that a boulder like Harry's father's rock could be roughly a similar size/wight/mass to a 12 year old girl.

What makes you think that she's dead? Dumbledore saying so, even though she did not experience sudden injury (per the established wards of Hogwarts)? Were her legs bitten off slowly enough to not qualify, or was the Blood-Cooling Charm used against Malfoy excessive underkill?

Dumbledore saying so

Yes. At this point in the story, Dumbledore knows a lot more than Harry does about how magical people die.

6robryk7yPeople believed for a long time that cessation of heartbeat is irreversible. While this is less likely to be such a mistake (wizards have some stasis spells for medical use, so at least sometimes they would have more time to assess whether anything works on such a supposedly dead person), it's still possible. Also, I'd like to posit this: this is the moment the magic decides the person is no more and from this point on any magic that works on a person won't work on him/her. But, nonmagical intervention and spells that aren't designed to target a person could still reverse it.
6skeptical_lurker7yThis is a good point, and furthermore in the story it goes straight from Hermione saying her last words to her death , whereas in real life I believe if circulation stops instantly (which isn't exactly the case here) you lose consciousness within 15 seconds, but it takes 4 minutes before brain damage starts. Which means they still have time to perform a blood transfusion and try to save her. More generally, has any wizard/witch ever been brought back after their heart stopped? Does the soul reenter the body? If not, do they end up in a coma, or do they maybe get a new soul? Even if wizards do not practice cpr, surely some wizards would have had heart attacks while in the presence of muggles.
2Roxolan7yCPR started to spread in the 1960s. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiopulmonary_resuscitation#History] Given how few wizards there are, and how little time most of them spend in the company of muggles, my no-actual-math-involved guess is that it isn't that likely.
2skeptical_lurker7yI seem to remember that the wizard population of the UK is about 10000, which would extrapolate to 1 000 000 worldwide. Given that many wizards do have muggle family... Ok, some math - conservativly speaking, if 10% of wizards have contact with muggles, and spend 1% of their time in the company of these muggles, with an average death rate of .6%, 40% of which is by heart attack, but only 40% of heart attacks are fatal, and 10% of the times that a heart attack happens in the presence of muggles the wizard dies and then the heart is restarted, then there would be an average of .6 wizards being brought back from the dead per year. But more to the point, surely some muggle-born wizards would practice cpr, or even improve on it using magic? With a population of 1000000, surely someone sometime would have transfigured a defibrillator in an emergency?

The following is wild 5am speculation.

And so the theory changes shape. Previously I had thought that there were multiple pieces on the gameboard but now I fear this is not so. Hermione Granger has been Legilimised into harm's way until destroyed and that has in turn destroyed Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres. He is no longer a game-piece but is the final stage of nothing more than an experiment, set into place by He Who Must Not Be Named (and indeed cannot be named, as his real name is so old it has no meaning to anyone or anything but his faintest memories... (read more)

Dumbledore teleported by pheonix. I don't think a disguised death eater could do that.

3Decius7yYeah, that solution solves the immediate problem by introducing a much larger one.

Neutral plot possibility: usually, dying minds aren't felt in the wizarding world. Something unusual was going on, and I don't know what it was.

Thank you for saying this. I've been hoping someone would make note of this. Don't people remember the fight with the bullies in ch 73?

Three blasts of brilliance slammed into Susan at once, she had her wand raised as though she could counter them and there was a white flash as the hexes struck the magical wood, but then Susan's legs convulsed and sent her flying into a corridor wall. Her head hit with a strang

... (read more)

Ah, but if he adapted, and the abuse stopped, then he would end up with a longer cycle. I think that's the idea, anyway.

I seriously doubt that's actually what happened though; not EY's style, somehow.

Dumbledore's "They learned not to mess with our families" line clued me in that he did it. The line is too on-point for anything else

Saying "They learned not to mess with our families" with a stone cold look on his face is what you'd expect Dumbledore to do whether or not he killed Narcissa. The statement is a simple fact. The memory of Aberforth's death and mere knowledge of Narcissa's seems to me plenty sufficient to produce that line and that look. Harry has even explicitly thought that Dumbledore has acted consistent with either ... (read more)

2Sheaman37737yAn interesting thought, and one that I had not considered in this light. And yet, right afterwards: This seems to make it clear to me that it is not that Dumbledore thought that he would never kill, and then Voldemort's war changed that, and he killed. It's that he thought that he should never kill, and then Voldemort himself became the exception, changed the rules so that he should kill Voldemort. At least, it is an alternate possibility.

I don't think Amelia Bones is the kind of woman who needs to be manipulated by Dumbledore to get revenge. My similar hypothesis is that Amelia needed Dumbledore's help to infiltrate Malfoy Manor and pull it off. Aberforth's death provided the impetus for Dumbledore to help, but he didn't cast the spell.

[-][anonymous]7y 2

If nothing else, the first claim should read more properly as "Person A is hurt because they have become legally responsible for a new human being and half of all associated costs and maintenance for that new human being for a period of no less than 21 years, in a situation where person A is not responsible for the creation of said new human being."

Comparing the best-case scenario outcome of one thing with the worst-case scenario outcome of another thing sounds disingenuous to me.

The Agreement Theorem is a consider-a-spherical-cow sort of result; its preconditions are absurdly strong. (In particular, the fact that the agents concerned are required not only to be perfect Bayesian reasoners but to have common knowledge that they are so.)

But even without Aumann one might hope for better agreement than we actually see...